The Ballad of Narayama

Director: Shohei Imamura
Japan / 1983 / 130 min
In Japanese with English subtitles

Last screened on Mon, Dec 28

Shohei Imamura’s magnum opus depicts the members of an extended farming family eking out their existence in the harsh mountainous north of late-19th-century Japan. The film is set against the backdrop of the changing seasons leading up to the winter that they must—according to village tradition—sacrifice the family’s still-tireless matriarch when she reaches her 70th year by abandoning her atop of a nearby mountain, where her soul can be laid to rest. Based on an ancient folklore and the novel of the same name by Shichiro Fukazawa, Imamura’s The Ballad of Narayama—the second and more hauntingly brutal screen version—was awarded the Cannes Palme d’Or in 1983.