The Ballad of Narayama
(Narayama-bushi ko)

Screening on Film
Directed by Shohei Imamura.
With Sumiko Sakamoto, Ken Ogata, Aki Takejo.
Japan, 1983, 35mm, color, 130 min.
Japanese with English subtitles.
Print source: Japan Foundation

The inhabitants of an isolated mountain village practice population control by carrying their elders to the top of Mount Narayama to die when they reach 70. Though in robust health and a year shy of her fate, Orin can't wait for her turn at the peak, even knocking out her own teeth to convince her sons she's ready. Unlike Kinoshita's Kabuki-ized film version, Imamura's Ballad of Narayama is a bawdy, corporeal burlesque that wholeheartedly affirms feeding and copulation as the essence of life.

Part of film series

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Vanishing Points: The Films of Shohei Imamura