Shôhei Imamura Masterpiece Collection
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Collection of six Japanese films directed by Shôhei Imamura. 'Vengeance is Mine' (1979) is a violent drama based on the true story of a murderer whose crimes led to a 78-day manhunt. Iwao Enokizu (Ken Ogata), a middle-aged labourer from a devout Catholic background, seems an unlikely source of danger. However, Iwao is possessed with an urge to kill that finally manifests itself in a deadly attack on two of his work colleagues. With his rage unleashed, Iwao embarks on a killing spree that quickly makes him the country's most wanted man. To evade capture, Iwao disguises himself as a university professor, before entering into a relationship with innkeeper Haru (Mayumi Ogawa), but will he be able to elude justice indefinitely? 'The Ballad of Narayama' (1983) is set in a 19th-century village where it is tradition for anyone approaching 70-years-old to go to a mountain top to die of starvation. At the age of 69, Orin (Sumiko Sakamoto)'s time to leave her home and follow this custom is almost here, despite being in good health. Before she goes, she sorts out issues among the villagers and attempts to find her eldest son Tatsuhei (Ogata) a wife. 'Profound Desires of the Gods' (1968) is set on a remote Kurage Island off the coast of Southern Japan, where conflict arises between the inbred, deeply superstitious Futori family who have occupied the island for generations and Kariya (Kazuo Kitamura), the Tokyo engineer who has been sent to supervise the creation of a new well to provide water for the island's sugar mill. 'The Insect Woman' (1963) follows the life of a working-class woman who attempts to overcome the poverty of her childhood. Born in 1918 to a poor family, Tome Matsuki (Sachiko Hidari) falls pregnant at 20 and takes up work at a factory. After ending an affair with her boss, Tome leaves her daughter behind and heads to Tokyo hoping to find a better life. While there, she gets a job as a maid at a brothel but, after picking up trade tips, soon becomes the house madam. Will the wealth and comfort she has sought follow? 'A Man Vanishes' (1967) uses the story of a man's disappearance to ask questions about the nature of reality itself. Presented as a documentary, the film uses a series of interviews with the friends and relatives of a missing man to try and construct a plausible scenario for what may have happened to him. However, as these speculations tend more and more towards the fantastic, the viewer's ability to suspend disbelief is tested to the extreme. 'Pigs and Battleships' (1961) is set in the gangster-ridden underworld of the seaside town of Yokosuka. Young lovers Kinta (Hiroyuki Nagato) and Haruko (Jitsuko Yoshimura) must overcome all kinds of unlikely obstacles in their quest to be together, including the fallout of the American occupation, underworld hypochondria and pig husbandry.
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