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Remembering Shohei Imamura
Wed Sep 14, 7:30 PM
Lamakaan
On the occasion of Shohei Imamura's 97th birth anniversary in September, Lamakaan remembers one of the finest Japanese film directors of his time.

About Shohei Imamura: Shōhei Imamura (15 September 1926 – 30 May 2006) was a Japanese film director. His primary interest as a filmmaker lay in depicting the lower strata of Japanese society. A key figure in the Japanese New Wave, who continued working into the 21st century, Imamura is the only director from Japan to win two Palme d'Or awards.

Film Title: The Ballad of Narayama | 1983 | 130 minutes | Japanese subtitled in English

The Ballad of Narayama is a 1983 Japanese film by director Shōhei Imamura. It stars Sumiko Sakamoto as Orin, Ken Ogata, and Shoichi Ozawa. It is an adaptation of the book Narayama bushikō by Shichirō Fukazawa and is slightly inspired by the 1958 film directed by Keisuke Kinoshita. Both films explore the legendary practice of ubasute, in which elderly people were carried to a mountain and abandoned to die. Imamura's film won the Palme d'Or at the 1983 Cannes Film Festival.

The film is set in a small rural village in Japan in the 19th century. According to tradition, once a person reaches the age of 70 he or she must travel to a remote mountain to die of starvation, a practice known as ubasute. The story concerns Orin, who is 69 and of sound health, but notes that a neighbor had to drag his father to the mountain, so she resolves to avoid clinging to life beyond her term. She spends a year arranging all the affairs of her family and village: she severely punishes a family who are hoarding food, and helps her younger son lose his virginity.

The film has some harsh scenes that show how brutal the conditions could be for the villagers. Interspersed between episodes in the film are brief vignettes of nature – birds, snakes, and other animals hunting, watching, singing, copulating, or giving birth.

SCREENING FOLLOWED BY DISCUSSION!

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