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Natural Culturalism in The Ballad of Narayama: A Study of Shohei Imamura's Thematic Concerns

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In 1958, Keisuke Kinoshita adapted Shichiro Fukasawa's Narayamabushi-ko into a movie with a strong flavor of classical kabuki, an attempt which met with great success. Some 25 years later, Shohei Imamura adapted the same novel for the screen with the same title, hereafter referred to by its English title, The Ballad of Narayama, which was awarded the grand prize at the Cannes Film Festival in France in 1983. Keiko McDonald (1994: 124) comments that compared to Kinoshita's classical theatrical approach, Imamura's version is deeply rooted in realism.
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Keywords: Shohei Imamura; The Ballad of Narayama; adaptation; kabuki; nature; thematic concerns

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Chinese University of Hong Kong

Publication date: 2003-03-01

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  • Asian Cinema is a seminal journal, which has been published since 1995 by the Asian Cinema Studies Society under the stewardship of Professor John Lent. From 2012 Asian Cinema will be published by Intellect as part of our Film Studies journal portfolio. The journal currently publishes a variety of scholarly material - including research articles, interviews, book and film reviews and bibliographies - on all forms and aspects of Asian cinema. The journal's broad aim is to advance understanding and knowledge of the rich traditions of the various Asian cinemas, thereby making an invaluable contribution to the field of Film Studies in general.
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