Andrzej Wajda1991-2000ArthouseDramaJapanese Female Directors

Andrzej Wajda – Nastazja AKA Nastasya (1994)

Nastazja (1994)
Nastazja (1994)

This film was born of a theatrical production of Nastasya Filipovna, first staged in 1977 at the Stary Teatr in Cracow. I based my adaptation on the last chapter of Fyodor Dostoyevski’s The Idiot, in which Prince Myshkin and Rogozhin return to the past in a conversation over the dead body of Nastasja.

For years I was tormented by apprehension, and later, by certainty that there exists some better solution for a stage version of The Idiot. Finally chance came to my aid. When in 1981 I visited Kyoto, I saw a performance of La Dame aux Camélias. In this way I met Tamasaburo Bando, one of the greatest Japanese performers of female roles.

Tamasaburo Bando is an unusual figure. He began his career at the age of six as a student of Kanya Morita in the Kabuki theatre. He was exceptionally quick in gaining the necessary skills to appear as onnagata – sometimes also called oyama – a performer of female roles. Today, Tamasaburo Bando is regarded as the most outstanding onnagata in Japanese theatre. The scale of his talent, however, goes far beyond the bounds of traditional Kabuki: he also plays roles belonging to classical European repertoire such as Lady Macbeth, Desdemona, Medea, Juliet, and La Dame aux Camélias, which I saw during my stay in Kyoto. I had no difficulty to view him as my ideal Nastasya. Strangely, I also thought at the time that this young man would also be an excellent choice for Myshkin. Thus, the audience was able to witness the miraculous transformation of a man into a woman, and so experience the deep mysterious mental link between Myshkin and Nastasja.

The theatrical production of Nastasya was, in its way, an event, so it is not surprising that it met with such interest. Unfortunately, after several performances in Tokyo and Osaka, it had to close due to the actor’s other obligations. Then I had the idea to make it into a film, which would record our show and at the same time give us a chance to present it to a wider audience.

Tamasaburo played the film rich in the experience, gained from almost a hundred performances of Nastasja. In the presence of the camera, his acting became detached and exceptionally film-like – particularly in the interpretation of the character of Myshkin.

The female parts created by Tamasaburo Bando are especially dear to me because of the idealisation of women, also present in our Polish tradition. This is exactly how he views Nastasya, revealing everything about her, making her worthy of the love of both men (Myshkin and Rogozhin). What’s more, he has been able able to inspire admiration even for her faults. The creation of this amazing artist is not a female type, but rather an image of eternal femininity born of masculine admiration, never an act of imitation or mimicry. It is this creative form which is for us as Europeans the most striking feature of Japanese art.

Nastazja (1994)
Nastazja (1994)
Nastazja (1994)

Container:  	Matroska
Runtime: 	1h 41mn
Size: 	1.20 GiB
Codec: 	x264
Resolution: 	672x480 ~> 800x480
Aspect ratio:  	5:3
Frame rate: 	23.976 fps
Bit rate: 	1 500 Kbps
BPP: 	0.194
#1:  	Japanese 2.0ch AC-3 @ 192 Kbps


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