The Ballad of Narayama ★★★★

An isolated village in the japanese mountains where life is extremely difficult, almost primitive, is the scene of this story about life and death. Orin, matriarch of a numerous family, prepares to leave her home because an ancient tradition dictates that, at the age of seventy, the elders must undertake the trip to the Narayama mountain to die. Before leaving, she will ensure that everything is arranged so that her family can survive; meanwhile, the spectator witnesses how life unfolds with its moments of beauty and other disquieting ones.
Narayama bushikō is a crude portrait of human nature and the cycle of life as well as the cruelty and harshness of rural life in the past. Imamura shows the social conventions (including sex), customs and traditions that dictate the lives of the villagers of this inhospitable place, guided by their basic instincts and the need for survival. The film possesses beautiful images of nature which parallel the lives of human beings, and a truly sublime last act.
Narayama bushikō looks like an anthropological study, a document about a community lost in time and space that contains the haunting story of the sacrifice of an old woman who comes to terms with her destiny and is determined to die with dignity.

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