a page of madness

film writing by nicholas vroman

Miwa: Looking for Black Lizard / Miwa Akihiro Documentary ~ kuro tokage o sagashite ~ / 美輪明宏ドキュメンタリー ~黒蜥蜴を探して~

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200Miwa: Looking for Black Lizard is sort of Miwa for beginners. The interviews are a bit standard, but the archival footage is magnificent. And there’s a certain Francophile tendency in director Pascal-Alex Vincent’s giving a bit too much time to Miwa playing Piaf in a theatrical spectacle – as interesting as that is – and downplaying his/her career as a chanson singer. Be that as it may, the life of Miwa Akihiro could fill up a mini-series or more – and in 60 some minutes, Vincent offers a heartfelt hagiography of one of Japan’s most fascinating personalities. For those who only know of Miwa an aging TV personality and occasional huckster for junk food and other disposable products, the long career of this amazing man who broke down sexual barriers in the 1950s with his proto-cross-dressing chanson act, his relationship with Yukio Mishima, his being at the forefront of avant-garde theatre for the last 60 years, being involved in edgy cinema, and generally being one of the greatest queens the world has see, this doc’s for you.

Originally published in EL Magazine, September, 2013.

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