Vengeance Is Shohei Imamura (Film Series)

When 17 Jan 2014 - 1 Feb 2014
Where Asia Society and Museum
725 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10021
United States
Enquiry 212-288-6400

One of the most recognized filmmakers in the history of Japanese cinema, Shohei Imamura (1926-2006) enjoyed a career that spanned over four decades and is one of only seven filmmakers ever to have been awarded the Palme d’Or twice (for The Ballad of Narayama, 1983 and The Eel, 1997). Displaying a particular interest in the lower strata of society — what Imamura considers the consciousness of Japan — the director populates the screen with impoverished women and social outcasts such as crooks, prostitutes, and pimps. Dark, messy, and bawdy, Imamura’s films observe the primal elements of human behavior and are quasi-anthropological studies of postwar Japan. This mini-series samples works made during the first three decades of the auteur’s career. While the selection highlights some of Imamura’s trademarks, it also presents the range of work that the director has accomplished.

Imamura was born to an upper-middle-class family in 1926. But after Japan’s surrender at the end of WWII, he made a living in the black market selling illegal cigarettes and liquor. It was then when Imamura became acquainted with the world of the underclass. After graduating from university in 1951, he joined the Shochiku film studio. There Imamura assisted the venerable Yasujiro Ozu on three films — Early Summer (1951), The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice (1952) and Tokyo Story (1953) — but was underwhelmed by the master’s measured aesthetic. He later worked under director Yuzo Kawashima (Bakumatsu taiyô-den, 1957). Although not as well-known as Ozu, Kawashima’s eccentric comedies made an impression on the aspiring director. Imamura made his directorial debut in 1958 with Stolen Desire. Imamura is considered a key member of the Japanese New Wave from the late 1950s through the early 1970s, along with filmmakers such as Nagisa Oshima, Hiroshi Teshigahara, and Seijun Suzuki.

Free admission.

All films with English subtitles. Click on individual programs for tickets and more information.

Co-presented with Japan Foundation.

Part of Citi Series on Asian Arts and Culture.

Photo courtesy of the organiser/s

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