One good thing came out of seeing Night Watch -- I got curious what Ebert had said about the movie and his review mentioned the concept of a benshi. At the start of Japanese cinema, it seems, the infux of silent foreign films with untranslated title cards ran into the Japanese theatrical traditions of an active narrator from both Kabuki and Noh and produced the benshi -- a narrator who stood beside the projection screen and explained the movie. Well, explained or transformed the plot of the movie, as they saw fit, and also acted out different parts, recited poetry, etc.

How delightfully transformative! I'm a big fan of adaptive cinema (ala Mystery Science Theater 3000*) and hence my own productions of Cinema 2.0 and the Chicago Neutrino Project. Now this notion of a narrator standing beside the screen is sparking some little, tiny Chistmas-light sized bulbs in my head. I so, so wish I could have seen El Automovil Gris, the theater production that Ebert mentions.