Survivor Ballads: Three Films by Shohei Imamura

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knives
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Re: Survivor Ballads: Three Films by Shohei Imamura

#26 Post by knives » Mon Sep 21, 2020 2:30 pm

Finch wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 8:20 pm
Exciting news! I can live with a second copy of Ballad as I can't wait to see Black Rain and Zegen for the first time.
Black Rain is in the running for my favorite film which is my way of saying you're in for a treat.

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Finch
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Re: Survivor Ballads: Three Films by Shohei Imamura

#27 Post by Finch » Mon Sep 21, 2020 8:05 pm

Thanks, knives, I've been wanting to see it for a very long time. I think it was AnimEigo who had it on R1 DVD?

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Survivor Ballads: Three Films by Shohei Imamura

#28 Post by therewillbeblus » Mon Sep 21, 2020 9:36 pm

The only copy I ever watched was an R1 DVD from my lib and I remember liking the film but the video quality being abysmal enough to bar full engagement. Really looking forward to a proper atmospheric treatment.

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knives
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Re: Survivor Ballads: Three Films by Shohei Imamura

#29 Post by knives » Tue Sep 22, 2020 10:01 pm

Finch wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 8:05 pm
Thanks, knives, I've been wanting to see it for a very long time. I think it was AnimEigo who had it on R1 DVD?
Yep. Ditto Ballad of Naryama.

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ex-cowboy
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Re: Survivor Ballads: Three Films by Shohei Imamura

#30 Post by ex-cowboy » Sat Dec 12, 2020 1:31 pm

Anyone else ordered this via Amazon UK? I put in my order mid-october. It was due today and now it's saying Monday 21st December. I thought perhaps the release had been pushed-back at the last moment, but HMV and Arrow both have it in stock. Very strange, I've never had something from Amazon delayed to such an extent.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Survivor Ballads: Three Films by Shohei Imamura

#31 Post by therewillbeblus » Sat Dec 12, 2020 2:04 pm

No but mine shipped five days ago from DeepDiscount, so it's def not pushed back. Amazon UK has been a bit unpredictable in that dept this year, in my experience.

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: Survivor Ballads: Three Films by Shohei Imamura

#32 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sat Dec 12, 2020 2:56 pm

My set just arrived from Deep Discount.

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modernmalaise
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Re: Survivor Ballads: Three Films by Shohei Imamura

#33 Post by modernmalaise » Sat Dec 12, 2020 3:04 pm

My set arrived on Tuesday (release day) from Amazon US. But I see now it's much cheaper on DeepDiscount so you could say I paid for expedited shipping.

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ex-cowboy
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Re: Survivor Ballads: Three Films by Shohei Imamura

#34 Post by ex-cowboy » Sun Dec 13, 2020 1:55 pm

Thanks everyone. HMV had it at the same price, so I've cancelled and gone with them.

Really looking forward to this, particularly Zegen - one of the few Imamura's I've not seen. From what I've read it sounds akin to Eejanaika in terms of feel, which I thoroughly enjoyed. And more Ken Ogata and Mitsuko Baisho is always welcome.

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Re: Survivor Ballads: Three Films by Shohei Imamura

#35 Post by Michael Kerpan » Tue Dec 15, 2020 9:17 pm

I'm glad I finally got to see Zegen. However, it is probably the weakest, least satisfying film I've seen by him (despite some good moments scattered about in it, here and there). I can see now why the comprehensive Imamura retrospective years ago excluded this.

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andyli
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Re: Survivor Ballads: Three Films by Shohei Imamura

#36 Post by andyli » Sun Dec 20, 2020 8:53 pm

Dropping a praise for the transfer of Black Rain. It's absolutely gorgeous and did justice to this long-neglected film. As for Narayama, the transfer falls victim to moderate-to-heavy DNR baked in the 2K restoration, as previously mentioned in another thread.

Orlac
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Re: Survivor Ballads: Three Films by Shohei Imamura

#37 Post by Orlac » Mon Dec 21, 2020 7:42 am

andyli wrote:
Sun Dec 20, 2020 8:53 pm
Dropping a praise for the transfer of Black Rain. It's absolutely gorgeous and did justice to this long-neglected film. As for Narayama, the transfer falls victim to moderate-to-heavy DNR baked in the 2K restoration, as previously mentioned in another thread.
Hmm, how does this compare to the previous Narayama BD?

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tenia
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Re: Survivor Ballads: Three Films by Shohei Imamura

#38 Post by tenia » Mon Dec 21, 2020 8:01 am

Orlac wrote:
Mon Dec 21, 2020 7:42 am
Hmm, how does this compare to the previous Narayama BD?
I did some comparisons with the MoC disc for my review of the 2019 French BD which uses the new restoration (and would be surprised if the Arrow disc doesn't look virtually identical to it).

There's definitively a fresher look on the new restoration, while the older master looks quite typically dated : it's more unstable, thicker too. But on the other hand, the DNR on the new restoration is particularly noticeable, and in some cases, depending on the on-screen content, it makes the DNR impacting the picture in a water-painting way, not unlike the French BD of Le samourai.

In the busiest shots, the new BD fares better because the DNR is more difficult to spot while the upgrades of having a fresher work shows (see for instance the shots in the grass), but pretty much everything else has been so scrubbed that it's smooth to death and is devoid of any celluloid life. I doubt anyone could guess just by looking at the new disc what was the restoration workflow, as it certainly doesn't look like a 4k scan of the OCN followed by a 2K restoration.

There's also the difference in color grading, though I can't say which one might be the most faithful one.

It ended up being hard for me to pick a real winner. Both discs have limitations : the older one from being an older master, the newer one from being a fudged new work. I'd say however the older disc, to me, looks more like film than the new one, so here you go I guess.


(on a side note, it looks like I mixed up a comparison, I'll have to fix it this evening !)

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Black Hat
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Re: Survivor Ballads: Three Films by Shohei Imamura

#39 Post by Black Hat » Mon Jan 04, 2021 4:34 pm

Can you guys give me a feel for the vibe of these films? I'm torn between between buying this set or the Kore-eda but I'm leaning here.

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Re: Survivor Ballads: Three Films by Shohei Imamura

#40 Post by JabbaTheSlut » Mon Jan 04, 2021 5:48 pm

Black Hat wrote:
Mon Jan 04, 2021 4:34 pm
Can you guys give me a feel for the vibe of these films? I'm torn between between buying this set or the Kore-eda but I'm leaning here.
Imamura - roughly: like a mix between Kurosawa and Oshima. Death, life, sex, rich view on humanity, humour (on the darker side), shocking, classic.

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Big Ben
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Re: Survivor Ballads: Three Films by Shohei Imamura

#41 Post by Big Ben » Mon Jan 04, 2021 6:24 pm

Imamura was certainly more socially conscious than Kurosawa and was less blunt than Oshima but I'd argue some of his darkest jokes are right up there with Oshima's nastiest. Don't believe me? Just ask the dog in Ballad of Narayama.

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Black Hat
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Re: Survivor Ballads: Three Films by Shohei Imamura

#42 Post by Black Hat » Tue Jan 05, 2021 12:37 am

thank you sirs

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Survivor Ballads: Three Films by Shohei Imamura

#43 Post by therewillbeblus » Tue Feb 09, 2021 8:36 pm

Finally got around to Zegen, and Mr. Sausage basically wrote exactly where I stand on this on the previous page. I can't say the film is entirely successful in its tonal balance or thematic execution but I thoroughly enjoyed my viewing, moreso in its first half. The action occurring onscreen moved at a rapid, involving rhythm, and when this would occasionally stall, my focus shifted with ease onto the detailed atmosphere Imamura immerses us in. My favorite bits of dark farce:
SpoilerShow
The scene where the men come across the rancid bloody body of a woman hanging from a tree, and apathetically rationalize "she died for our country" before transitioning into money quibbles with the carcass dangling in the background.

Also the desperate conjecture (stated during sex!) to procreate for the sake of saving the Japanese empire against the Chinese is initially humorous in its pathetic logic yet the continuation of its austerity is tragically delusional, sucking all the pleasure out of a pleasurable act- which would be ironic if blind faith in nationalism and economical returns weren't substituted for religion here. This committed self-deception initiates the disintegration of Iheiji's life and worked very well for me as a cap to this tale.

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ex-cowboy
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Re: Survivor Ballads: Three Films by Shohei Imamura

#44 Post by ex-cowboy » Thu Feb 11, 2021 1:01 pm

Watched Zegen a couple of weeks ago and thoroughly enjoyed it too. It's definitely on the lighter end of Imamura's work tonally, and not up there with his best work, but still has a fair bit to say about identity, motivation and nationhood. The use of nascent national sentiment as a means of manipulation and 'character' formation recalls Althusser's work on ideology and Muraoka's transparent use of a thinly-guised national identity as Emperor worship to justify any actions he deemed to be in his own interest recalls a fair bit of the discourse surrounding Japan's increasing militarisation from the late 1900s onwards and the conceptual formation of the co-prosperity sphere. Academics and political theorists from across the spectrum, from fascists and conservatives to feminist anarchists, advocated the course of action for one reason or another (in the feminist case it often came down to issues of liberating women from 'backward' Asian societies as evidenced by the banning of courtesans in Korea in the early 1910s, a few years after its official annexation).

I liked the way the film playfully inverts the investiture of national identity into one man (here predominantly the Meiji Emperor) by using Muraoka to explore the often tenuous link between the individual, the political and the national (on the ideological level). To some extent, this use of an individual character to explore notions of history and the nation brings the film closer to The Insect Woman in regards Imamura's (fiction) filmmaking as a whole, though it probably sits alongside Eejanaika and, to some extent, Dr. Akagi in terms of feel.

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Mr Sausage
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Re: Survivor Ballads: Three Films by Shohei Imamura

#45 Post by Mr Sausage » Thu Feb 11, 2021 1:38 pm

I cannot recommend more highly Imamura’s tv documentaries, in which he explores all of the ideas and issues you cite in non-fictive terms (and more acutely, too, I feel). There is a lot in Zegen, even if it doesn’t come off for me.

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Re: Survivor Ballads: Three Films by Shohei Imamura

#46 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu Feb 11, 2021 1:49 pm

Mr Sausage -- have you ever managed to see Bar-Hostess? This is the only thing I've yet to see, one way or another?

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Re: Survivor Ballads: Three Films by Shohei Imamura

#47 Post by Mr Sausage » Thu Feb 11, 2021 1:58 pm

Michael Kerpan wrote:Mr Sausage -- have you ever managed to see Bar-Hostess? This is the only thing I've yet to see, one way or another?
No, I haven’t. It along with his first four apprentice works are the only things I haven’t seen yet, and it’s frustrating because Bar Hostess seems so major.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Survivor Ballads: Three Films by Shohei Imamura

#48 Post by therewillbeblus » Thu Feb 11, 2021 2:07 pm

I'm having a hard time writing about the film, but Black Rain totally knocked me out this last watch, aided immensely by the new transfer (the only copy I had seen before was a DVD from my lib which was borderline unwatchable). Imamura's skill at balancing the acute horrors and residual consequences of this powerless violent incident aptly frames trauma as an ongoing experience rather than an isolated event, and simultaneously evokes the rhythm of impermanence which is a cosmic theme woven into the vast terrain of this narrative. This is such a profoundly humanistic drama that directly addresses the paths we formulate toward hope in our actionable and psychological resilience. The final lines are a desperate attempt for control, a statement equal parts tragic and empowering for defending oneself against the enigmatic forces that continue to dominate one's life, and strikingly asking for a colored rainbow as we pan into the grey sky in black and white photography, unable to attain permanence in catharsis even if the frame didn't freeze.

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Re: Survivor Ballads: Three Films by Shohei Imamura

#49 Post by Mr Sausage » Thu Feb 11, 2021 2:22 pm

One of the interesting parts of its examination of trauma is how it shows the community’s failure to process its own trauma, leading to the rejection and social isolation of those people who embody or serve as a direct reminder of that trauma. It’s an especially powerful subject given the reports of how relocated survivors of the Fukushima disaster were often shunned and isolated in their new communities. Imamura was no sentimentalist; he had no intention of making a fable about communities rallying together to exorcise grief and trauma collectively.

Imamura was always sensitive to how people are isolated or made outcasts in society, be it from class, race, gender, occupation, or otherwise. Black Rain is a quiet commentary on this attitude.

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Re: Survivor Ballads: Three Films by Shohei Imamura

#50 Post by therewillbeblus » Thu Feb 11, 2021 2:37 pm

Yeah that's the precise kind of humanism I'm drawn to- sensitivity without indulged sentiment

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