A Man Vanishes


Time Out says

'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the time the director intervenes to demand our suspension of belief, we're left with only a disenchanted and a rather outdated essay in self-deconstruction.

By: NB


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