The celebrated Japanese director Shohei Imamura has passed away at the age of 79. He lived a long and very productive life with much acclaim, but it’s always sad to learn of the passing of great people. Imamura made a lot of wonderful films and was a pivotal figure of the Japanese new wave.

Oddly enough, just a few days ago I was discussing his film Black Rain (aka Kuroi ame) with someone and the horrific & dark images of people destroyed by war that Black Rain conjures up from the deep depths of human suffering came back to me in a rush and have been haunting me ever since. Black Rain was my introduction to Imamura and few films have been able to capture the horrific aftermath of war as well as his film. If Shohei Imamura only made Black Rain I think the world would still be grieving his passing today. With “Memorial Day” just behind us, I’m tempted to add that Black Rain should be added to a list of films that should be required viewing during the Memorial Day holiday. It’s hard to imagine that anyone could think war of any kind is a good idea after seeing that film.

Links to some news stories:
Japanese director Imamura dies at 79
Japan mourns film-maker Imamura

Shohei Imamura Filmography:
11’09”01 – September 11 (2002) (aka September 11)
Akai hashi no shita no nurui mizu (2001) (aka Warm Water Under a Red Bridge)
Kanzo sensei (1998) (aka Dr. Akagi)
Unahi (1997) (aka The Eel)
Kuroi ame (1989) (aka Black Rain)
Zegen (1987)
Narayama bushiko (1983) (aka The Ballad of Narayama)
Eijanika (1981) (aka Why Not?)
Fukushû suruwa wareniari (1979) (aka Vengeance Is Mine)
Karayuki-san, the Making of a Prostitute (1975)
Nippon Sengoshi – Madamu onboro no Seikatsu (1970) (aka History of Postwar Japan as Told by a Bar Hostess)
Kamigami no Fukaki Yokubo (1968) (aka The Profound Desire of the Gods)
Ningen Johatsu (1967) (aka A Man Vanishes)
Jinruigaku nyumon: Erogotshi yori (1966) (aka The Pornographers)
Akai satsui (1964) (aka Unholy Desire)
Nippon konchuki (1963) (aka The Insect Woman)
Buta to gunkan (1961) (aka The Flesh Is Hot)
Nianchan (1959) (aka My Second Brother)
Hateshinaki yokubo (1958) (aka Endless Desire)
Narayama Bushi-Ko (1958) (aka Ballad of Narayama)
Nishi Ginza ekimae (1958) (aka In Front of West Ginza Station)
Nusumareta yokujo (1958) (aka Stolen Desire)

8 thoughts on “R.I.P. Shohei Imamura 1926-2006

  1. His early work is not very easy to come by in the US, so I have not seen much of it either. Hopefully more of his films will be made available soon.

  2. Glad you’re enjoying my blog mixaway!

    I have no idea why the Black Rain DVD is selling for such high prices now. Hopefully it will get re-released soon.

  3. I was touched and horrified by “Black Rain” when I saw it about 6 years ago. The two images that have remained with me since then have been the person with the fingers melted, hanging from their bones like string, and when they are taking the boat from Tokyo and the ashes fall on them like rain. Ne, I meant three, when the bomb first goes off and the people in the train car are tossed. Truly frightening. It made me think about war in a much different way, long before Spielberg did. It’s interesting, maybe it sits so strongly with me because it was an attrocity we commited on someone else. Knowing it was us it makes it that much more powerful a film. I will have to watch more of his films.

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