by Chris MaGee
One of Japanese cinema's crowning achievements has to be Shohei Imamura receiving the Palm d'Or at the 1983 Cannes Film Festival for his film "The Ballad of Narayama". For those of you who have yet to see this film (go out and rent it NOW) is revolves around a mountain village where, in order to conserve resources, the elderly are taken into the wilderness and abandoned, sacrificed for the good of the community It's easy to see how in present day Japan, with its rapidly aging population, that this idea wouldn't go down to well. So what's the answer? Create a revisionist take on Imamura's film, and who better to do that than his own son.
Daisuke Tengan, the screenwriter of Takashi Miike's "Audition" and director of the largely unsung film "The Most Beautiful Night in the World", has helmed a sequel, or re-imagining of sorts, of his father's classic film with "Dendera". I say "of sorts" because "Dendera" isn't based directly on "The Ballad of Narayama", but on a 2009 novel by author Yuya Sato. The book, and subsequent film, focuses on a village that abandons their elderly women in the wilderness, but this time out the women refuse to die and found their own town, called Dendera, where they fight for survival. The film has some pretty heavy-hitting veteran actresses including Ruriko Asaoka and Mitsuko Baisho, the latter of whom starred in Imamura's "Ballad of Narayama".
You can check out the trailer for "Dendera", scheduled for a theatrical release in Japan on June 25th, below. Thanks to Nippon Cinema for this news and Ameba.jp for the above promo still.