«The Written Face» is an attempt to offer an insight into the Japanese Kabuki star, Tamasaburo Bando. The film consists of four continuous acts: A prelude, the dance of the drunken snake, «Orochi», from Japan's oldest myth, is followed by a documentary section, «Tamasaburo Bando and his idols». It includes encounters with Han Takehara, geisha and dancer, Haruko Sugimura, film actress (Ozu, Naruse, Kurosawa), and Butoh dancer, Kazuo Ohno.
The next act, «Twilight Geisha», is a light-hearted variation on the geisha theme. In the fourth and final section, Tamasaburo dances the Kabuki drama «Sagimusume», a story of reincarnation and of a girl's transformation on a snowy winter's night.