Ostensibly Imamura’s first work in documentary features, A Man Vanishes is much more, heralding the future work of Kazuo Hara and Werner Herzog, amongst others, in the genre-defying mix of style and loose adherence to filmic “reality.” Imamura follows one case of a growing phenomenon of working Japanese men who, sent to other cities while their families are left behind, disappear completely. The film concerns Yoshie Hayakawa, whose fiancée vanishes from sight, leaving behind only shadowy evidence of his past, casting darkness over Hayakawa’s relationship with her sister, her fiancée’s family, and even the investigator, who himself may not be what he seems to be. An exceedingly radical film in scope, technique, and aesthetic, Imamura’s film is in many ways a distillation of his many themes and obsessions as well as an implosion of them, casting off into the various orbits he would travel later.
* Subtitled trailer
* 9-minute interview with Shohei Imamura
* 230 pages booklet “5 Films of Imamura Shohei”
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