Places, Images, Times & Transformations

Imamura Shohei

(1926- ). Film director. Born in Tokyo. Graduate of Waseda University. He joined the film company Shōchiku Co., Ltd. in 1951 and debuted as a director with Nusumareta yokujō (1958, Stolen Desire). Imamura has consistently portrayed in his works the resilience and energy of common people. Imamura begins all his projects with thorough research. His first documentary, Ningen jōhatsu (1967, A Man Vanishes), about a woman's search for her missing fiancé, made the process of research itself the focus of the film. After this work, he directed a series of television documentaries on the plight of expatriate prostitutes and soldiers abandoned overseas after World War II. His films include Narayama-bushi kō (1983, The Ballad of Narayama), Kuroi ame (1989, Black Rain), and his most famous, Unagi (1997, Eel), which won the Palme d'or for best picture at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997. (adapted from Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1993)

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