The Ballad of Narayama

The Ballad of Narayama

The Ballad of Narayama combines different elements from both theatre and cinema to make something that is truly art. For most of the film, it feels as if you are watching a stage production because of the sets and how everything is displayed to the viewer as if stage actors are performing this tale for us to enjoy. However, you are reminded this is indeed a film whenever there are close-ups of the actors' faces which is something that you never get to see when watching a stage production because emotions have to be expressed by words and actions, not by the expressions on a character's face. Those expressions are exactly what key us, viewers, into how these characters feel as they struggle with this dire times they're living in with very little food as Orin is harassed for still being around as another mouth to feed while Tatsuhei dreads every moment leading up to having to abandon his one and only mother to die on top of a mountain. This film makes use of a lot of red, blue, and green-tinted frames as we watch the film unfold. This is another thing that could only be made use of in cinema to this degree while perhaps trying to persuade the viewer to have a sort of association with these colors. I did not pay attention to when certain colors popped enough to deduce what these certain associations might be but I'm sure it would be intriguing to take note of these moments. The struggle between Orin's desire to follow tradition and be taken to the top of Mount Narayama to die while Tatsuhei is reluctant to take her there out of love for her is what makes this piece of cinema so magical and makes it absolutely worth watching