7.8/10
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Profound Desires of the Gods (1968)

Kamigami no fukaki yokubô (original title)
GP | | Drama | 22 July 1970 (USA)
An engineer from Tokyo arrives on a drought-ridden tropical island to drill a well to power a nearby sugar mill. He meets the inbred Futori family, hated by the locals for breaking religious customs.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Rentarô Mikuni ...
Nekichi Futori, the chained son
Chôichirô Kawarasaki ...
Kametaro Futori, the backward son
Kazuo Kitamura ...
Engineer Kariya
Hideko Okiyama ...
Toriko Futori, the retarded daughter
Yasuko Matsui ...
Uma Futori, the priestess daughter
Yoshi Katô ...
Ritsugen Ryu
Hôsei Komatsu
Chikako Hosokawa
Chikage Ôgi
Jun Hamamura
Taiji Tonoyama
Susumu Mizushima
Yasuhiko Ishizu
Kiyoshi Tokugawa
Kazuhiko Hasegawa
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Storyline

The Tokyo engineer Kariya arrives on a primitive tropical island to drill a well to provide water for the sugar mill. He is assisted on the island by Kametaro, from the inbred Futori family. Nekichi Futori is chained in a pit that he has to dig, in order to appease the gods for breaking island customs. Nekichi is in love with his sister Uma, who is a shaman priestess at the sacred shrine, that contains the only good water close to the mill. She is also the mistress of Ryu, the manager of the mill. The patriarch of the Futori family tries to get the engineer to marry his retarded daughter Toriko. Written by Will Gilbert

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Drama

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Release Date:

22 July 1970 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Deep Desire of Gods  »

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2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

 
meandering, centreless piece with hints of genius
24 December 2011 | by (Japan) – See all my reviews

Profound Desires of the Gods, sometimes referred to as Imamura's overlooked epic, is an ambitious undertaking. Running at a daunting 173 minutes, it is ostensibly the tale of one inbred Ryukyu family's (the Futoris) attempts to regain lost social status. They do this by digging a pit to bury a huge boulder, and by seducing a mainland engineer with the feral, sexually-charged wild-child daughter. On another level, the film interrogates issues of modernity versus tradition, religious hypocrisy, and Japan's troubled relations with the outside world.

The film's successes are its luscious landscape, evocative production design of heathen and pagan rituals and artifacts, and portrayal of suppressed, taboo desires bursting to the fore. The narrative wanders and explores various tangents that can challenge the attention. This is filmmaking for cinema, and the gorgeous golden beaches and turquoise oceans had me longing to see this on the big screen. A murder by masked men at the end is also visually compelling. This film is interesting in bits, and flashes of genius occasionally show themselves, but the lack of coherence, repetition in the storyline, and outright dud moments (the heavenly vision of the departed patriarch), make this a problematic addition to the Imamura oeuvre. It hints at the great film that this project could have become, a realization of the potential of the vision, rather than the vision itself. Sometimes amazing, sometimes disappointing, this is one to watch and argue over.


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