A Man Vanishes: The Legacy of Shohei Imamura

The 18 titles in this retrospective are the work of a social anthropologist with an unapologetic Darwinian streak. Postwar Japan is but a simulacrum of its feudal past. The epochs separating civilized man from his animal forefathers are routinely collapsed in a heartbeat. Guttural epics bubble over with rape and revenge, incest and adultery. To see these movies today is to be reminded of how timid most other Japanese cinema looks by comparison. In the series' first week, Pigs and Battleships (1961) is a vulgar, delirious satire set in a port town during the U.S. occupation, where a dim but well-meaning low-level yakuza finds himself the fall guy in a hog-farming scheme involving American officers. All the while, his girlfriend rejects the suggestion of her own mother and sister that she should become the kept woman of a visiting Yankee seaman (7 and 9:15 p.m. Monday, Oct. 29; see www.nwfilmforum.org for full schedule).

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