The Ballad Of Narayama


An epic one-way trip up a mountain

Shohei Imamura’s Palme d’Or winner is an epic about a superstitious rural community, whose septuagenarians are required to die by taking a one-way trip up a mountain. Its stately technique meshes with bizarre, often shocking material – infanticide, bestiality and actress Sumiko Sakamoto smashing her real teeth on-screen.

Yet Imamura subversively implies that such behaviour is no less weird than society’s rules. The result is equal parts sick comedy, OAP actioner and transcendental fable of intertwinedfaith and nature.

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