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Narayama bushiko (Ballad of Narayama)

Narayama bushiko (Ballad of Narayama) (1958)

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Release Date: Jun 1, 1958 Wide

audience

92

liked it
Average Rating: 4.2/5
User Ratings: 189

My Rating

Movie Info

Adapted from a novel by Shichiro Fukazawa, The Ballad of Narayama is built around an ancient Japanese custom. Centuries ago, it was customary for the younger citizens of a remote Japanese mountain village to shepherd all those over the age of seventy to the snowy crags of Mt. Narayama. There the elders would be left to die from exposure and starvation--a fate they were expected to meet with stoic resignation. As the film observes, this custom was not universally accepted even in ancient times:

Unrated,

Drama

Aug 20, 1996

Criterion Collection

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All Critics (7) | Top Critics (1) | Fresh (6) | Rotten (0) | DVD (1)

Modern audiences may find it difficult to adjust to its laconic pace, but it is a stirring tale, full of dignity and sorrow, and worth checking out for sure.

April 15, 2013 Full Review Source: Scene-Stealers.com
Scene-Stealers.com

a striking experimental mixture of Japanese folklore, theatrical traditions, and stunning camerawork

March 6, 2013 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

It is unquestionably one of the most beautiful films I have seen, every shot is designed, composed, lit and photographed to perfection.

March 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Eye for Film
Eye for Film

Criticized by some as too conservative, this version, while less powerfully dramatic than Imamura's, nevertheless finds its own, different level of resonance.

March 4, 2013 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Kinoshita's use of color is spectacular.

March 11, 2011 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Awesome Japanese classic.

September 7, 2001 Full Review Source: Wired
Wired

Audience Reviews for Narayama bushiko (Ballad of Narayama)

Wow, that was horrible. Can't believe I actually sat through it.
Good, but horrible. Although, truthfully I can think of a few 70+ people I know who could do with going up that mountain!
June 13, 2014
romy861

Super Reviewer

finally caught up with the original version of this and it's much different than imamura's stylistically but at least equally worth watching. staged very formally like a kabuki play with obviously fake backdrops and dramatic scene changes, it seems a more appropriate treatment for the legendary subject matter. mizoguchi's long time muse, kinuyo tanaka plays the still hearty elderly mother resigned to her fate
January 8, 2013
rubystevens
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

A brilliant and methodically made and enacted Japanese classic. This was also the last of the "Great Films" in the great Roger Ebert's film reviews section. The film is one of sadness and the ending of life, an era that will lead to new beginnings hopefully. I believe it will, like the film portrays, mean the Mr Ebert is in a better place now.
November 11, 2013
Chris Browning

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Ballad of Narayama (Narayama bushi ko) (1958) (DE)
  • Ballad of Narayama (Narayama bushi ko) (1958) (UK)
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