The Ballad of Narayama

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Directed by: Shohei Imamura

With its documentary naturalism, earthy sense of humor, and a keen ethnographical eye for the absurdities of human behavior, The Ballad of Narayama represents the epitome of director Shohei Imamura's (ZegenBlack Rain) vigorous explorations of the Japanese spirit, and won the director his first of his two Palme d'Or awards when it played in competition at Cannes in 1983.

In a remote mountain village dominated by poverty, hunger, and hardship, tradition dictates that upon reaching their seventieth year, the elder members of the community are carried to the top of Mount Narayama by their relatives and abandoned to die so as to keep the local population in check. At the age of sixty-nine, Orin (Sumiko Sakamoto, The Pornographers), the matriarch of the Neko family, posesses more vitality and more teeth than many of the villagers half her age. As her time approaches, she nevertheless sets about putting her house in order and preparing her eldest son Tatsuhei (Ken Ogata, Zegen) to accompany her on her one-way ascent to the summit.

Adapted from Shichiro Fukazawa's 1956 source novella Narayama bushiko, itself based on the ancient local folktale Ubasute-yamaThe Ballad of Narayama was shot on location over the course of a year, the breathtaking cinematography by Masao Tochizawa capturing the majestic landscapes of the northern Tohoku region across the seasons.

Technical Specifications

Format: Blu-ray
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio: Japanese 1.0 PCM Mono
Subtitles: English
Region: A/B
Discs: 1 Disc |  BD-50


  • Brand new audio commentary by Japanese cinema expert Jasper Sharp
  • Brand new, in-depth appreciation of the film by Japanese cinema expert Tony Rayns
  • Theatrical trailers
  • Teaser trailer
  • Image gallery
  • Original Japanese press kit (BD-ROM content)

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