A remote village in the foothills of a great mountain, sometime in the past. A widow is approaching her 70th birthday - the age at which village law says she must go up to the mountain to die. She faces this prospect with surprising equanimity, but there are some things she wants to take care of first: to find a good new wife for her widowed eldest son, to help her runtish second son get laid for the first and only time in his life, to take her brattish eldest grandson down several pegs. The process whereby she sets about these tasks, while preparing herself serenely for her own death, amounts to a story of her personal fulfilment the like of which the cinema has rarely seen. Her society is one that is in most ways the antithesis of our own. Imamura realises this vision with shocking humour and immediacy, and then challenges us to say whether this fictitious community is more or less humane than ours. Awe-inspiring.
The Ballad of Narayama
Cast and crew