Why Not?

Screening on Film
Directed by Shohei Imamura.
With Kaori Momoi, Shigeru Izumiya,Masao Kusakari.
Japan, 1981, 35mm, color, 151 min.
Japanese with English subtitles.
Print source: Japan Foundation

Set in the 1860s, the chaotic final days of the Tokugawa shogunate, Why Not? follows an assortment of proletariats – a peasant farmer just back from the US, his prostitute wife, an Okinawan seeking revenge, an ex-samurai, and an underworld boss – all swept up in the riots that plunged Japan into the 20th century. The film's title refers to the carnivalesque frenzy of the underclass and their apathy towards the future, which would be exploited by the forces of modernization and Meiji imperial control.

Part of film series

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Vanishing Points: The Films of Shohei Imamura