Shohei Imamura

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James Quandt, Cinematheque Ontario, Kokusai Kōryū Kikin. Shichōkakubu
Indiana University Press, 1997 - Performing Arts - 183 pages
2 Reviews

Shohei Imamura is among the most important artists of postwar Japanese cinema. Best known in the west for his award-winning The Ballad of Narayama, Imamura has produced a body of work that is unequalled for its tumultuous energy and formal daring. A dozen essays by such eminent authorities of Japanese cinema as Donald Richie, Max Tessier and Audie Bock are supplemented by interviews with and articles by Imamura, which explore his influences, themes and working methods.

Published by Cinematheque Ontario. Distributed in Canada by Wilfrid Laurier University Press. Distributed outside Canada by Indiana University Press.

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Japanese cinema's dauntless postwar cultural anthropologist and satirist deserved a better account in Anglophone print than this ponderous, somnific selection of insipid treatises and middling interviews. Substantive literature in treatment of Imamura consisted exclusively of Japanese and French publications prior to this volume, and that hasn't changed.
Numerous interviews with Imamura herein yield only a modest insight into the filmmaker's themes, propensities and M.O.; far better may be found online. Most of the essays belabor ignorant speculation in regard to his output; expectedly, a feckless superfluity of conjecture and canard concerning the nuberu bagu doyen's topics and politics are expounded in substandard prose. Filming techniques and narrative innovations peculiar to Imamura's oeuvre are largely disregarded. The filmmaker's lively responses to stock interview queries and expositions pertaining to his preferred subjects and colleagues constitute the book's only substantial content. Imamura's affectionate portrayals of Yuzo Kawashima's aberrant lifestyle and successes are admirable delineations of his mentor, though no less penetrating for their sentiment. Published to coincide with North American theatrical screenings of The Eel, this anthology also wants for any documentation of Imamura's final two features. Ultimately, it's marginally more informative than and invested with the competence routinely observed in a Midnight Eye article: the nadir of source in essay of Japanese motion pictures.
For Francophone Imamura enthusiasts, cinema historian Hubert Niogret's Shohei Imamura: Entretiens et Temoignages is an adequate (if not exhaustive) resource far preferable to this squandered effort.
 

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User Review  - David - Goodreads

There is very little published on Imamura in English. This is an indispensable resource on this neglected master of cinema. It's a combination of analysis, commentary, and interviews. Read full review

Contents

A Brief Introduction to the Films of Shohei Imamura James Quandt
1
PART
2
The Aim of Ethics
9
The Aim of Ethical Theory
20
Modem Japans Entomologist Max Tessier
45
The Last Rising Sun Dave Kehr
69
Passion and Moral Blindness in The Remains
95
Shohei Imamura Interview Toichi Nakata
107
Finding Forgiveness in Beloved
140
My Teacher Shohei Imamura
145
Pigs and Gods Charles Tesson
159
Of Eels and Men Max Tessier
179
Zora
226
Notes 183
283
Index 193
293
Copyright

My Approach to Filmmaking Shohei Imamura
125

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About the author (1997)

James Quandt is senior programmer at Cinematheque Ontario and also editor of Kon Ichikawa and Robert Bresson.