Keisuke Kinoshita

The Ballad of Narayama

The Ballad of Narayama

This haunting, kabuki-inflected version of a Japanese folk legend is set in a remote mountain village where food is scarce and tradition dictates that citizens who have reached their seventieth year must be carried to the summit of Mount Narayama and left there to die. The sacrificial elder at the center of the tale is Orin (Kinuyo Tanaka), a dignified and dutiful woman who spends her dwindling days securing the happiness of her loyal widowed son with a respectable new wife. Filmed almost entirely on cunningly designed studio sets, in brilliant color and widescreen, The Ballad of Narayama is a stylish and vividly formal work from Japan’s cinematic golden age, directed by the dynamic Keisuke Kinoshita.

Film Info

Special Features

  • New 4K digital master from the 2011 restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • Trailer and teaser
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by critic Philip Kemp

New cover by Yuko Shimizu

Purchase Options

Special Features

  • New 4K digital master from the 2011 restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • Trailer and teaser
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by critic Philip Kemp

New cover by Yuko Shimizu

The Ballad of Narayama
Cast
Kinuyo Tanaka
Orin
Teiji Takahashi
Tatsuhei
Yuko Mochizuki
Tama
Danshi Ichikawa
Kesakichi
Seiji Miyaguchi
Mata
Yunosuke Ito
Mata’s son
Keiko Ogasawara
Matsu
Ken Mitsuda
Teru
Eijiro Tono
The messenger
Credits
Director
Keisuke Kinoshita
Written by
Keisuke Kinoshita
Produced by
Masaharu Kokaji
Based on the novel by
Shichiro Fukazawa
Cinematography
Hiroyuki Kusuda
Production design
Kisaku Ito
Production design
Chiyoo Umeda
Editor
Yoshi Sugihara
Naguta music
Rokuzaemon Kineya
Joruri music
Matsunosuke Nozawa

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Dec 18, 2013
The Ballad of Narayama: Abandonment
The Ballad of Narayama: Abandonment

Keisuke Kinoshita’s most experimental film is a resplendent, kabuki-inspired, folk-derived drama about mortality.

By Philip Kemp

On Film / Essays — Feb 5, 2013