The Ballad of Narayama

  • Dir: Imamura Shohei

  • Japan, 1983, 130min, DCP

  • Cast: Ogata Ken, Sakamoto Sumiko

Vital choices of life and death in this stark 1983 Palme d’Or winner at Cannes. The themes are intimate and harsh rather than epic, focused on a small village in 19th century Japan that maintains its fragile ecological balance by exposing all citizens who reach 70 to death on the mountaintop. Rather than resisting this fate, the heroine, Orin, reaching age 69, embraces nature and uses her final year to order her own affairs and those of her family. A theme that perplexed the Western critics when produced in postwar Japan, but which now raises much more complicated and profound questions about themes of community, sustainability, balance of resources, and responsibilities that face us directly as a global ecosystem.

1983 Cannes Film Festival, Palme d’Or
1984 Japan Academy Film Prize, Best Film, Best Actor and Best Sound

26.8.2018(SUN): Post-screening talk with Thomas Shin



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