The Ballad of Narayama

#24

Japan | 130 min.

1.85:1 OAR

colour

stereo

Special Features


DUAL FORMAT RELEASE INCLUDING BLU-RAY AND DVD VERSIONS OF THE FILM

• New, restored high-definition transfer

• New and improved English subtitle translation

• Exclusive new 20-minute video interview with scholar Tony Rayns

• Four original Japanese theatrical trailers, including behind-the-scenes footage

• PLUS: A 44-page full-colour booklet containing a 1983 director’s statement by Shôhei Imamura; a newly translated 1983 interview with Imamura conducted by Max Tessier; the newly translated production diary for the film kept by producer Jirô Tomoda; a wide selection of rare production stills; and facsimile imagery from the film’s original Japanese press book.

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The Ballad of Narayama

Shôhei Imamura, 1983


Cinematic anthropologist extraordinaire Shōhei Imamura won his first Palme d’Or at the 1983 Cannes Film Festival for The Ballad of Narayama [Narayama bushikō], his transcendent adaptation of two classic stories by Shichirō Fukazawa.

In a small village in a remote valley where the harshness of life dictates that survival overrules compassion, elderly widow Orin is approaching her 70th birthday – the age when village law says she must go up to the mythic Mount Narayama to die. But there are several loose ends within her own family to tie up first.

Creating a vividly realised inverse image of “civilised” society with typical directness and black humour, Imamura presents a bracingly unsentimental rumination on mortality and an engrossing study of a community’s struggles against the natural elements. Handled with a masterful control and simplicity, moving effortlessly between the comic and the horrific, The Ballad of Narayama is one of the legendary director’s deepest, richest works, and ranks among the finest films of its decade. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present the film’s first UK home viewing release in a new Dual Format Blu-ray + DVD edition.