A Man Vanishes

  • Film
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'Please understand this is pure drama, a fictitious story.' Imamura's first 'documentary', an investigation (initially) of the social phenomenon of 'Johatsu' - the disappearance of thousands of people in Japan every year - approached via a collaboration between the film-makers and one such missing man's abandoned fiancée. But their search gradually dissipates in the face of both the woman's own transference of interest to one of the crew, and the seemingly irreconcilable truths of conflicting witnesses. Eventually, the film grinds to a halt, turning in ever narrower circles of doubtfulness. The tone is scrupulously academic, with Imamura's cool anthropological eye skating over the woman's own story and the logistics of the search. By the time the director intervenes to demand our suspension of belief, we're left with only a disenchanted and a rather outdated essay in self-deconstruction.

Release details

Duration: 130 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Shohei Imamura
Cast: Yoshie Hayakawa
Shigeru Tsuyuguchi
Shohei Imamura

Average User Rating

5 / 5

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Marcos Hardy

I saw Imamura's film a couple of years ago in the Japan Society of NYC and I'm eager to see it again at the Film Archives. It is a superior intellectual exercise on the inability to fully grasp reality and truth (as it happens in Science as well), applying NOT a deconstructionist approach ( à la Derrida) but by presenting the development of an inquiry with a "distancing" methodology (through the Brechtian technique of Entfernung), thus allowing the spectators to suspend their immersion in the plot so as to be rational judges of the overall situation. A fantastic piece of cinema that is so not-Strasberg as Brecht was so not-Stanislavsky (as in Die Dreigroschenoper.)

Marcos Hardy

I saw Imamura's film a couple of years ago in the Japan Society of NYC and I'm eager to see it again at the Film Archives. It is a superior intellectual exercise on the inability to fully grasp reality and truth (as it happens in Science as well), applying NOT a deconstructionist approach ( à la Derrida) but by presenting the development of an inquiry with a "distancing" methodology (through the Brechtian technique of Entfernung), thus allowing the spectators to suspend their immersion in the plot so as to be rational judges of the overall situation. A fantastic piece of cinema that is so not-Strasberg as Brecht was so not-Stanislavsky (as in Die Dreigroschenoper.)