Survivor Ballads: Three Films by Shohei Imamura

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zedz
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Re: Survivor Ballads: Three Films by Shohei Imamura

#51 Post by zedz » Thu Feb 11, 2021 3:19 pm

Michael Kerpan wrote:
Thu Feb 11, 2021 1:49 pm
Mr Sausage -- have you ever managed to see Bar-Hostess? This is the only thing I've yet to see, one way or another?
I wonder what the issue is with that. From pre-home video days it was generally singled out as the major work of his documentary period, and it seemed to be the easiest to see in the west, appearing in cinemas and repertory screenings and being written up in books about Japanese cinema. You'd have thought it would be the first film from that era to be resurrected, not the last. Has anybody seen it recently in retrospectives?

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: Survivor Ballads: Three Films by Shohei Imamura

#52 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu Feb 11, 2021 3:26 pm

Another film of that era which seems to have been widely available which has (similarly) now essentially totally disappeared is Shinoda's MacArthur's Children.

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knives
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Re: Survivor Ballads: Three Films by Shohei Imamura

#53 Post by knives » Thu Feb 11, 2021 3:45 pm

Michael Kerpan wrote:
Thu Feb 11, 2021 1:49 pm
Mr Sausage -- have you ever managed to see Bar-Hostess? This is the only thing I've yet to see, one way or another?
It’s available in the back channels and quite good.

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Re: Survivor Ballads: Three Films by Shohei Imamura

#54 Post by Mr Sausage » Thu Feb 11, 2021 3:58 pm

knives wrote:
Michael Kerpan wrote:
Thu Feb 11, 2021 1:49 pm
Mr Sausage -- have you ever managed to see Bar-Hostess? This is the only thing I've yet to see, one way or another?
It’s available in the back channels and quite good.
I have no access to these back channels, sadly.

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Re: Survivor Ballads: Three Films by Shohei Imamura

#55 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu Feb 11, 2021 4:30 pm

Ditto. I used to know someone who did -- and they would burn the files to disc for me. But that was then and this is now. ;-)

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zedz
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Re: Survivor Ballads: Three Films by Shohei Imamura

#56 Post by zedz » Thu Feb 11, 2021 5:13 pm

Michael Kerpan wrote:
Thu Feb 11, 2021 3:26 pm
Another film of that era which seems to have been widely available which has (similarly) now essentially totally disappeared is Shinoda's MacArthur's Children.
That's one I actually managed to see (on 16mm) back in the 80s. That and Demon Pond were the only Shinodas that seemed to be in circulation at the time. Neither of them are a patch on his tremendous earlier work.

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Re: Survivor Ballads: Three Films by Shohei Imamura

#57 Post by ex-cowboy » Fri Feb 12, 2021 6:52 am

Mr Sausage wrote:
Thu Feb 11, 2021 1:38 pm
I cannot recommend more highly Imamura’s tv documentaries, in which he explores all of the ideas and issues you cite in non-fictive terms (and more acutely, too, I feel). There is a lot in Zegen, even if it doesn’t come off for me.
Thanks Sausage. I have the Olive films set and have watched a couple of them, but need to finish off the set.

I've seen parts of Bar Hostess, but unfortunately not the whole thing (that, Stolen Desire and My Second Brother are the only features of his I've not seen) and am very keen to do so.

I'm going to prioritise rewatching Black Rain, I saw it once on an old VHS, but very much looking forward to seeing the new scan. I wish I could find it, but Yoshida Kiju was pretty critical of Imamura's film (must have been around the time of Woman in the Mirror) for what he said was it's attempt to recreate a profound trauma and that not attempting to recreate it was far more effective (or words to that effect, it's been a few years since I read the piece).

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Re: Survivor Ballads: Three Films by Shohei Imamura

#58 Post by kekid » Fri Feb 12, 2021 3:18 pm

Mr Sausage wrote:
Thu Feb 11, 2021 3:58 pm
knives wrote:
Michael Kerpan wrote:
Thu Feb 11, 2021 1:49 pm
Mr Sausage -- have you ever managed to see Bar-Hostess? This is the only thing I've yet to see, one way or another?
It’s available in the back channels and quite good.
I have no access to these back channels, sadly.
Can someone please explain this "Back Channel" business? What is it, is it legal, and how does one become "privileged" to get access to it?

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Re: Survivor Ballads: Three Films by Shohei Imamura

#59 Post by Mr Sausage » Wed Feb 24, 2021 9:27 pm

Some good news: the superb recent essay collection, Killers, Clients, and Kindred Spirits: the Taboo Cinema of Shohei Imamura is getting a more affordable paperback release at the end of the month (the hardcover is priced for libraries). There are some crucial essays in there that counter prevailing misreadings and received ideas about Imamura’s films and aesthetic. Most appropriate for this thread is the Black Rain essay that puts to rest the idea that Imamura came around to adopting Ozu’s aesthetics, arguing instead that he undermines and rejects them. The Insect Woman and Intentions of Murder essays are equally essential (tho’ the latter is abysmally written).

Here’s my write up from elsewhere on the board.

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ex-cowboy
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Re: Survivor Ballads: Three Films by Shohei Imamura

#60 Post by ex-cowboy » Thu Feb 25, 2021 1:36 pm

That's terrific news. Enjoyed your previous write-up on it. It's great that more work on Imamura is coming (in a more affordable form) - for me one of the most fascinating bodies of work in cinema, let alone Japanese film. I actually wrote an undergrad dissertation on his work (primarily Ballad of Narayama, Vengeance and The Insect Woman) and remember finding lots of little bits here and there (after all he is an incredibly highly regarded filmmaker in Japan), but there is a notable lack of dedicated academic study of his work, certainly compared to many of the other 'big' Japanese filmmakers. I seem to recall there being quite a bit about him in Desser's Eros Plus Massacre and Standish's Politics, Porn and Protest (both absolutely essential works), but it always struck me that aesthetically his rejection of the more explicitly '60's' avant-garde aesthetics (apologies that wording isn't great) finds him almost ignored in a lot of the current vogue for re-examining that period of Japanese cinema. Very interested to read the piece on Black Rain, if only to see someone wholeheartedly despatch the 'Ozu' myth. I find the obsession with evoking Ozu when there seems to be so little basis for the comparison incredibly boring (not to say reductive) - I really don't remember anything in Black Rain that could be considered as 'Ozu-esque'.

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: Survivor Ballads: Three Films by Shohei Imamura

#61 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu Feb 25, 2021 3:17 pm

Based on what I've read, Imamura clearly "evolved" his attitude towards Ozu and his work as he got older -- but that doesn't mean he adopted any of Ozu's methods. ;-)

There is one trait I think Imamura shares with Ozu, especially (or more obviously) in his later films. They both display what looks like a certain "fondness" for (most of) their main characters, but don't pull any punches in "objectively" showing off those characters' flaws and failings.

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