Reviews

The Insect Woman

4

This film is an unsparing study of working-class female life.

Shôhei Imamura ’s drama-cum-social exposé follows heroine Tome (Sachiko Hidari) through five decades from her birth in 1918 to a poor Japanese peasant family. Exploited, prostituted, imprisoned, she stubbornly survives everything life throws at her.

Despite the anthropological approach hinted at in his title, Imamura can’t withhold his admiration for her sheer resilience – and Hidari deservedly picked up Best Actress at Berlin.

Extras include Nishi-Ginza Station (1958), a 52-minute farce foisted on Imamura by his studio; he responded by sending it up rotten.

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