The Asia Society and Museum in cooperation with the Japan Foundation will present a series of five films by Japanese filmmaker Shohei Imamura starting on January 17th and concluding on February 1st in New York City. The mini-series—which includes what is perhaps his masterpiece, Vengeance Is Mine—seeks to showcase a few of Imamura’s career highlights as well as some lesser-known works meant to convey the breadth of his creative output. All but one of the films will be screened in 35mm prints, while admission to every screening is free.
According to the Asia Society, Imamura shows “a particular interest in the lower strata of society — what Imamura considers the consciousness of Japan — the director populates the screen with impoverished women and social outcasts such as crooks, prostitutes, and pimps. Dark, messy, and bawdy, Imamura’s films observe the primal elements of human behavior and are quasi-anthropological studies of postwar Japan.”
Imamura, one of only seven filmmakers to ever receive the Palme d’Or twice, is a director who seems to be unjustly taken for granted. His name isn’t as recognizable as Kurosawa and he isn’t as generally revered as Ozu, and he remains mysterious even amongst his Japanese New Wave cohort of names like Nagisa Oshima, Hiroshi Teshigahara, and Seijun Suzuki. Let’s hope this series will shed some more light on a truly great filmmaker.
The films in the series as well as showtimes are below.
The Ballad of Narayama – January 25, 2014, 6:00 pm
Shohei Imamura. 1983. Japan. 130 min. Color. 35mm. With English subtitles. w. Sumiko Sakamoto, Ken Ogata, Aki Takejo .
[Not to be confused with Keisuke Kinoshita‘s 1958 film of the same name]
Though the films are free, you still need to go to the Asia Society’s website to register for tickets. You can find that here.