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Killers, Clients and Kindred Spirits

The Taboo Cinema of Shohei Imamura

Edited by Lindsay Coleman, David Desser

Hardback (Forthcoming)

A thorough exploration of the work of one of Japan’s most controversial directors

The only Japanese director to have won the Palme d’Or from Cannes more than once, and second only to Ozu Yasujiro in the number of times he has won the prestigious Kinema Jumpo Best One award, the late Imamura Shohei was one of Japan’s leading and most controversial film directors. This book is one of the first to study all of Imamura’s major films alongside his television and theatrical documentaries, focusing on his major themes and concerns. By giving shape to Imamura’s career, the book positions him as a stylistic innovator as well as an ethnographic investigator into Japanese culture and tradition; the preeminent examiner of the hidden, barely repressed underpinnings of Japanese society.

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Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: The Making of An Auteur: The Early Films (1958-1959); Jennifer Coates

Section I: Killers

Chapter 3: Confronting America: Pigs and Battleships and the Politics of US Bases in Postwar Japan; Hiroshi Kitamura

Chapter 4: Insect Men and Women: Gender, Conflict and Problematic Modernity in Intentions of Murder; Adam Bingham

Chapter 5: Hidden in Plain Sight: The False Leads and True Mysteries of Vengeance Is Mine; John Berra

Chapter 6: The Eel: Trauma Cinema; David Desser

Section II: Clients

Chapter 7: The Insect Woman, or: The Female Art of Failure; Michael Raine

Chapter 8: The Obscene in the Everyday: The Pornographers; Lindsay Coleman

Chapter 9: Shōhei Imamura’s Profound Desire for Japan’s Cultural Roots: Critical Approaches to Profound Desires of the Gods; Mats Karlsson

Chapter 10: ‘Products of Japan’: Karayuki-san, The Making of a Prostitute; Joan Mellen

Chapter 11: The Female Body as Transgressor of National Boundaries: The History of Postwar Japan as Told by a Bar Hostess; Bianca Briciu

Part III: Kindred Spirits

Chapter 12: Better off Being Bacteria: Adaptation and Allegory in Dr Akagi; Lauri Kitsnik 

Chapter 13: Time out of Joint: Shōhei Imamura and the Search for an ‘Other’ Japan; Bill Mihalopoulos

Chapter 14: Promotional Discourses and the Meanings of The Ballad of Narayama; Rayna Denison

Chapter 15: Boundary Play: Truth, Fiction, and Performance in A Man Vanishes; Diane Lewis 

Chapter 16: Why Not? – Imamura, Nietzsche and the Untimely; David Deamer

Chapter 17: Kuroi ame: An Anthropology of Suffering; Dolores Martinez

Chapter 18: The Symbolic Function of Water; Tim Iles

Notes on Contributors














About the Author

Lindsay Coleman is an independent film producer, and is completing his phD thesis at the University of Melbourne

Professor David Desser is Professor Emeritus of Cinema Studies at the University of Illinois and Dean of Anaheim University Akira Kurosawa School of Film

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