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The Ballad of Narayama (1983)

Narayama bushikô (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 29 April 1983 (Japan)
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.

Director:

Shôhei Imamura

Writers:

Shôhei Imamura (screenplay), Shichirô Fukazawa (novel)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ken Ogata Ken Ogata ... Tatsuhei
Sumiko Sakamoto Sumiko Sakamoto ... Orin
Tonpei Hidari Tonpei Hidari ... Risuke
Aki Takejô Aki Takejô ... Tamayan
Shôichi Ozawa Shôichi Ozawa ... Katsuzô
Fujio Tokita Fujio Tokita ... Jinsaku
Sanshô Shinsui Sanshô Shinsui ... Zeniya no Tadayan
Seiji Kurasaki Seiji Kurasaki ... Kesakichi
Junko Takada Junko Takada ... Matsuyan
Mitsuko Baishô Mitsuko Baishô ... Oei
Taiji Tonoyama ... Teruyan
Casey Takamine Casey Takamine ... Arayashiki (as Kêshi Takamine)
Nenji Kobayashi Nenji Kobayashi ... Tsune
Nijiko Kiyokawa Nijiko Kiyokawa ... Okane
Akio Yokoyama Akio Yokoyama ... Amaya
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Storyline

In a small village in a valley everyone who reaches the age of 70 must leave the village and go to a certain mountain top to die. If anyone should refuse he or she would disgrace their family. Old Orin is 69. This winter it is her turn to go to the mountain. But first she must make sure that her eldest son Tatsuhei finds a wife. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Only time could change the cruelty of tradition ... only their Love could survive it ... See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

29 April 1983 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

The Ballad of Narayama See more »

Filming Locations:

Niigata, Japan See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Toei Company See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Connections

Referenced in C'est le coeur qui meurt en dernier (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Risuke no uta
Written by Hitoshi Machida
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Tough stuff but asks the basic questions
7 May 2006 | by kwindrumSee all my reviews

I was a little surprised by a few of the negative comments below since I don't consider this film to be at all slow or dull. Many foreign and Asian films (Tsai Ming-Liang, Apitchatpong Weerasethakul, Hou Hsiao-Hsien for example)are far more grueling and slow whereas this film is loaded with narrative events, humor, eroticism (of various sorts, not all involving contact between humans and other humans)and a profound meditation on community, responsibility and mortality. If one finds this slow then I'd imagine most foreign films besides Amelie would be off-limits. I have rarely seen a film that forces one to confront such disturbing yet important subjects. In this village where scarcity forces all over 70 to be taken to Narayama mountain to die, a 69 year old woman who is still energetic and capable must settle her son's affairs before taking her final journey. Pondering how one would live in a place where for years one would know that at 70 this would happen is one key question. Further, what are the final things one must do before dying. Finally, the film makes us confront the literal truth of bodily decay and corruption in the scenes at Narayama Mountain.


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