Plastics salesman Oshima disappeared without a word to anyone, and has been missing for two years. Shohei Imamura and his crew follow Oshima's fiancé Yoshie and actor Shigeru Tsuyuguchi as they investigate the disappearance.
In a poor 19th century rural Japanese village, everyone who reaches the age of 70 has to climb a nearby mountain to die. An old woman is getting close to the cut-off age, and we follow her last days with her family.
Teen hoodlum Kinta is excited to be given the plum job of supervising the pig pen at the local US base, for which he'll be responsible diverting the food scraps to the black market, and scoring a good income for his yakuza gang. His girlfriend Hiroku earnestly hopes he'll leave the yakuza and get an honest job, but neither is she a paragon of virtue - she is drawn into prostitution and petty thievery. The story mostly follows their troubled relationship, against a backdrop steeped in corruption, which results from the clash of US Forces occupation against the poverty and aspirations of the people of post-war Japan.
A scathing, even cynical critique. There is no tenderness at all here. Even the young lovers embracing is shown more as a desperate clinging than emotional attachment. And corruption is everywhere - there are no good guys. Confronting stuff, well-photographed, memorable as a vivid nightmare.
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