Shohei Imamura

Shôhei Imamura – Fukushû suru wa ware ni ari AKA Vengeance Is Mine (1979)

Synopsis:
Vengeance Is Mine is the come-back feature of master Shohei Imamura after a 10 year hiatus. The film is based on a real-life serial killer who went on a killing spree across Japan in the 60s. Read More »

Shôhei Imamura – Zegen (1987)

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This movie is black satire of Japanese imperial ambitions in the 20th century. In Meiji era Japan (1868-1910), the Japanese state sought to establish itself as an empire as a way to both catch up to and remain free from the West. These activities also lay the foundation for the disasters to come mid-century. This movie satirizes those efforts from a mid-1980s perspective, giving it an obvious subtext of being a commentary on the efforts of late 20th century Japanese businessmen abroad as well. The “hero” is a businessman who, realizing that the Japanese armed forces will likely soon be advancing across Asia, decides that they will require brothels wherever they go as well and so sets up shop in Southeast Asia. A very black comedy from one of Japan’s finest film satirists (cf. “Pigs and Battleships,” “The Pornographers”) best known abroad ca. 1999 for “The Eel” and “Black Rain” (the film based on the novel about Hiroshima, not the Michael Douglas flick). Read More »

Shôhei Imamura – Buban No Kaizoku AKA The Pirates of Bubuan (1972)

Quote:
Imamura reveals remote and impoverished islands in the Philippines to be the home of rival factions of pirates in this absorbing investigation into a little-known way of life.

“In ballsy, proto-Nick Broomfield fashion, Shohei Imamura puts himself directly in the line of danger to film THE PIRATES OF BUBUAN, a startling documentary glimpse of shady activity on the Phillipine high seas in the early 1970s. As an unintended side effect of bringing a camera crew into relatively unknown territory, Imamura also captures the experiences of native islanders eking out their day-to-day lives on both the poverty line and the idyllic shoreline.” —The Cinefamily Read More »

Shôhei Imamura – Nippon Sengoshi – Madamu onboro no Seikatsu AKA Postwar History of Japan as Told by a Bar Hostess (1970) (DVD)

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The star of this documentary is a quintessential Imamura heroine: a hard-nosed, ruthless survivor, with a sense of loyalty and an earthy sense of humor. In this movie, she sits in a Tokyo bar, which she used to own, and tells the story of the various means she used to survive, beginning with the day the atom bomb fell. It is a history of compromises and hard deeds, though there are few outright betrayals. Read More »

Shôhei Imamura – Muhomatsu kokyo e kaeru AKA Muhomatsu Returns Home (1973)

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From the BFI website:

Television documentary featuring interviews with Japanese soldiers after the Second World War.

Quote:
“In Search of Unreturned Soldiers was about former soldiers of the Japanese army who chose not to return to Japan after the war. I found several of them who had remained in Thailand. Two years later, I invited one of them to make his first return visit to Japan and documented it in Muhomatsu Returns Home. During the filming, my subject Fujita asked me to buy him a cleaver so that he could kill his ‘vicious brother.’ I was shocked, and asked him to wait a day so that I could plan how to film the scene. By the next morning, to my relief, Fujita had calmed down and changed his mind about killing his brother. But I couldn’t have had a sharper insight into the ethical questions provoked by this kind of documentary filmmaking.” —Shôhei Imamura Read More »

Shôhei Imamura – Narayama-bushi kô AKA Ballad of Narayama [+Extras] (1983)

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Plot Summary
In a small village in a valley everyone who reaches the age of 70 must leave the village and go to a certain mountain top to die. If anyone should refuse he/she would disgrace their family. Old Orin is 69. This winter it is her turn to go to the mountain. But first she must make sure that her eldest son Tatsuhei finds a wife. Read More »

Shôhei Imamura – Karayuki-san AKA The Making of a Prostitute (1975)

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A film about another kind of “unreturned soldier” than Shohei Imamura has profiled elsewhere, KARAYUKI-SAN finds the filmmaker traveling to Malaysia to interview Kikuyo Zendo, one of the countless Japanese women who were kidnapped or otherwise sold into sexual slavery in order to service the Japanese military in Southeast Asia.

74 years old at the time of filming, she offers a frank and harrowing testimony into her horrific wartime experiences, and the factors that have led her to choose exile over repatriation. Read More »