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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.

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(screenplay), (novel)
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9 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

In a time not long past, the first law was . . . The Old Must Die . . . [Video Australia] See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

29 April 1983 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

The Ballad of Narayama  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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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

Oya wo nemurasu komori uta
Performed by Sumiko Sakamoto
Courtesy of Radio City Records
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User Reviews

 
Shohei Imamura : A true master of human emotions.
13 August 2008 | by See all my reviews

On numerous occasions Japanese filmmaker Shohei Imamura has confessed that he is more interested in filming tales of despicable low lives than narrating stories of hypocrite Japanese middle class.This is precisely what makes his film special.It must be mentioned that an earlier version of this film was made in 1958 by veteran Japanese film maker Kinoshita Keisuke.Imamura has often stated that his film is more sensual than that of Kinoshita as it featured a Kabuki style narration of events.Ballad of Narayama is a film about ancient traditions which are hard to follow.It takes place in a Japanese village where a majority of inhabitants are low lives who lead a not so decent life.As traditions are to be respected there is a lot of respect for elders. The highlight of the film is the existential dilemma of a Japanese man whose task consists of leaving his old mother in the mountains of Narayama to be eaten alive by vultures.It is believed that forthcoming generations will live when sacrifices are made by old people.It is amazing how Imamura has managed to recreate a vivid life of ancient Japanese village.Ken Ogata is a joy to watch as an obedient son who hesitates to see his old mother die.A truly great film to learn about the eccentricities of human mind especially of the oriental kind.


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