Keisuke Kinoshita’s Ballad of Narayama (Narayama-bushi Kō)
Please note, we are showing this film on the 3rd Wednesday in November, to avoid conflict with the Thanksgiving holiday.
Here’s another great in the history of Japanese cinema! The Ballad of Narayama, directed by Keisuke Kinoshita’s and released in 1958, is based on folk legend and tells its story in the kabuki style. The story itself is disturbing and curious–a rural community that struggles with food shortages and poverty has a tradition meant to preserve precious resources–once a member turns 70 years old, they go through a ritual journey to the top of Mount Narayama, where they are left to die in the wilderness. The film is centered around the experiences of Orin (played by the fantastic Kinuyo Tanaka) a nearly-70-year-old grandmother who is working to make sure everything is right for her family before it’s her time to journey up the mountain.
The film was made almost entirely on set, including artificial colors and painted backdrops alongside the constructed natural rural surroundings. The cruelty of the community’s tradition and the dire circumstances of their lives is set against the poetic kabuki style, absorbing viewers in the emotional weight carried by Orin but also the legend that is unfolding and its possible interpretation.
More about the movie:
Please arrive on time so we can start on time! It’s okay to show up a little bit early if you like.
We’ll use our projector and screen for watching the film. All films are in Japanese with English subtitles. This is a free event, but we ask for donations for food and tea. Hope to see you there!
5:30-5:45pm — members arrive, remarks on the film by Erin and Masaki
5:45 pm — film starts
7:25 pm — film ends
7:35 pm — post-film discussion
8:00pm — event ends