Best Movies by Farr
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    The Ballad of Narayama

    The Ballad of Narayama Poster
    The Ballad of Narayama Poster

    Released

    1983

    Runtime

    130

    The Ballad of Narayama

    What's it About

    In a time of cruelty and harsh famine, the residents of a dangerously impoverished village bring their elderly to the top of Mount Narayama, where they are left to die under the grace of the ancient deities. With her own ascent just a year away, 69-year-old Orin (Sakamoto) attempts to find a suitable wife for her widowed son, Tatsuhei (Ogata), who refuses to accept his mother’s inevitable fate.

    Why we love it

    Imamura’s retelling of this feudal fable, based on a Japanese novel, spares nothing in the way of brutal realities or the forbidding environment in which his characters (a family of five) scrape for survival. There are lurid twists, too, such as when Tatsuhei’s son brings home a dodgy, disgraced woman to live with the clan after a sexual rendezvous in the woods. But with self-preservation as his theme, Imamura juxtaposes the dignity of human endurance with the primal instincts of the bestial world, depicting a woman determined to leave the earth with a restful soul.