Shôhei Imamura (1926-2006)? And TrustMovies is talking about only the man's narrative films -- which comprise all he had seen of his work until now, as -- thanks to Icarus Films, The Japan Foundation and Anthology Film Archives (AFA) -- the half dozen documen-taries made by Imamura (shown above) will have the chance to be seen and savored beginning this Thursday, November 15, including his first, A MAN VANISHES (Ningen jôhatsu) from 1967, which is receiving its U.S. premiere via a full week's run at AFA.
Each year in Japan, as elsewhere, many people disappear. Imamura investigates the disappearance of one of these, a relatively young salesman named Tadaski Oshima, who one day goes missing. The filmmaker tracks the disappearance via everything from police reports to friends, relatives, employers, co-workers and love interest(s).
IN SEARCH OF THE UNRETURNED SOLDIERS IN MALAYSIA / MIKAHEI O OTTE 1971, 50 mins, digital video.
An Icarus Films release
IN SEARCH OF THE UNRETURNED SOLDIERS IN THAILAND / MIKAHEI O OTTE N°2 1971, 50 mins, digital video.
An Icarus Films release
In these two remarkable films, Imamura travels first to Malaysia and then to Thailand, to investigate the lives and experiences of those Japanese soldiers who, during World War II, chose to desert from the Japanese Army and remain in Southeast Asia.
–Thursday, November 15 at 9:00, Saturday, November 17 at 9:00, and Monday, November 19 at 6:30.
KARAYUKI-SAN, THE MAKING OF A PROSTITUTE / KARAYUKI SAN 1975, 70 mins, 16mm. Print courtesy of the Japan Foundation. An Icarus Films release
A film about another kind of “unreturned soldier”, KARAYUKI-SAN finds Imamura traveling to Malaysia to interview Kikuyo Zendo, one of the countless Japanese women who were kidnapped or otherwise sold into sexual slavery in order to service the Japanese military in Southeast Asia. 74 years old at the time of filming, she offers a frank andharrowing testimony into her horrific wartime experiences, and the factors that have led her to choose exile over repatriation. “Perhaps the most brilliant and feeling of Imamura’s fine documentaries.” –Joan Mellen, The Waves at Genji's Door
–Friday, November 16 at 9:00, Sunday, November 18 at 5:00, and Wednesday, November 21 at 7:00.
THE PIRATES OF BUBUAN / BUBUAN NO KAIZOKU 1972, 46 mins, digital video. An Icarus Films release
Remoteand impoverished islands in the Philippines are revealed to be the home of rival factions of pirates in this absorbing investigation into a little-known way of life.
OUTLAW-MATSU RETURNS HOME / MUHOMATSU KOKYO E KAERU 1973, 47 mins, digital video. An Icarus Films release
"In Search of the Unreturned Soldiers was about former soldiers of the Japanese army who chose not to return to Japanafter the war. … Two years later, I invited one of them to make his first return visit to Japan and documented it in OUTLAW-MATSU RETURNS HOME. During the filming, my subject Fujita asked me to buy him a cleaver so that he could kill his ‘vicious brother.’ I was shocked, and asked him to wait a day so that I could plan how to film the scene. By the next morning, to my relief, Fujita had calmed down and changed his mind about killing his brother. But I couldn’t have had a sharper insight into the ethical questions provoked by this kind of documentary film-making.” –Shôhei Imamura
–Saturday, November 17 at 4:15, Sunday, November 18 at 9:00, and Tuesday, November 20 at 6:30.
Find out more about Anthology Film Archives by clicking here; for directions on how to reach AFA, click here.