The Carp Made Impotent, I Swear

More of Shohei Imamura at NWFF

There’s something berserk, seedy, and

endearing about The Pornographers (1966) and its hapless yet stoic hero, Ogata (Shoichi Ozawa), a guy who can’t get any satisfaction—not with the widow he lives with, not with her ripe-and-sexually-curious daughter, who’s all of 15. A petty purveyor of skin flicks by day, he’s henpecked at home by night. Worse, the widow insists her dead husband’s ghost inhabits her pet carp, whose fishy stare is anti-Viagra for poor Ogata. Bullied by the yakuza, half in love with both mother and daughter, his porn-peddling persistence begins to look like a service to a society that’s even more sexually frustrated than he. Nobody gets hurt or exploited in director Shohei Imamura’s unruly comic world. Ogata insists, “My work may be immoral, but I treat everyone honestly!” And Imamura treats all his misfit characters with the same level affection. The Imamura retrospective continues through Mon., Nov. 12.

Nov. 1-12, 6:30 & 9:15 p.m., 2007

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