specific film: death on the mountain

antoine kilian antkill at zensearch.net
Mon Dec 21 04:30:09 EST 1998

Hello everybody, I'm a not so newcomer on the list, and apologize for not having introduced myself yet, I'm quite busy and shall try do do so properly within a week...My name is Antoine Kilian, I'm french and live in Japan.

Anyway, about The ballad of Narayama (Narayama Bushiko), which shows an elderly woman abandonned in the mountain after a ride on her son's back, of course, the movie by Shohei Imamura in 1983 is famous and won him an award in Cannes, but it was just a more realistic remake of a more poetic movie by Keisuke Kinoshita in 1958, (more in Kabuki style, says Tadao Sato in his dictionary).

But all of you scholars know that pretty well, I would just like to mention to Robert Grody one of my very favorite films that deals of the way japanese society takes care of the elderly people : Ningen no Yakusoku by Yoshishige (Kiju) Yoshida, 1985 ;The french title was "Promesse", probably something like "Promise" in the USA..  I saw it twelve years ago but am still deeply moved by this complex story that could seem at first to be just another detective story...

As I check Sato Tadao's Dictionary for the dates and titles in Japanese, I see he mentions other movies I don't know, about the problem of elderly people in modern japan society :

(I hope someone who knows the titles in english will help those who speak neither french nor japanese ; in case someone had some opinion about these films, I'd be happy to hear it)

Un homme en extase (Kokotsu no Hito, 1973) by Shiro Toyoda
Un sou de fleurs (Hana Ichimonme, 1985) by Shunya Ito

and two documentaries :

Le monde des vieillards seniles (Chihosei Rojin no Sekai, 1986) by Sumiko Haneda, followed in 1990 by : Pour vieillir en toute securite (Anshinshite Oiru Tameni), also by Haneda.

By the way, this reminds me of a problem I have : I don't own a dictionary in English on Japanese cinema, and plan to order one on the net (I live in Kyoto, not much available here), and I don't know what to choose : apparently the most recent one comes from London : The Asian Film Library Reference to Japanese Film, by Stephen Cremin, who also contributes to this list.

Does anyone know something better : I also heard of The Japanese Filmography by Stuart Galbraith ? (sorry, stephen), and why should I choose one instead of the other?

Thank you everybody, Sayonara.

Antoine Kilian.

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