‘Art of the Benshi’ debut draws rave reviews; D.C., Chicago, L.A. dates are next

Published: April 9, 2024
Art of the Benshi performanceAfter a successful debut in New York, the tour continues throughout the month of April. (Photo: UCLA Film & Television Archive)

Sean Brenner | April 9, 2024

The UCLA-produced “The Art of the Benshi” tour opened last week in Brooklyn, New York, to packed houses and wildly enthusiastic reviews from one prominent film critic.

The programs showcase the century-old Japanese art of benshi, in which live actors provide narration for silent films. Among the attendees for the premiere performance was Richard Brody of The New Yorker. He shared his impressions on X, formerly known as Twitter:

“The Art of the Benshi” tour is presented by the Yanai Initiative for Globalizing Japanese Humanities — a partnership between UCLA and Tokyo’s Waseda University — and the UCLA Film & Television Archive.

The tour continues with performances April 12–14 in Washington, D.C., April 16–17 in Chicago and April 19–21 in Los Angeles, before concluding April 26 in Tokyo. Visit the tour website for ticket information.