Shohei Imamura’s brilliant, devastating television documentary In Search of the Unreturned Soldiers in Thailand (Mikikan-hei o otte: Tai-hen) concludes a pair of works begun the previous year with In Search of the Unreturned Soldiers in Malaysia. (Another documentary, Outlaw-Matsu Comes Home, 1973, functions as a coda to the two films.) The second film consists of […]

HORENDI (Jean Rouch, 1972)

Among ethnographic or anthropological filmmakers, France’s Jean Rouch was perhaps the only one to rival Margaret Mead and, to the extent that he qualified, Robert J. Flaherty. Horendi is an engrossing, hypnotic, exciting, and surprisingly moving documentation of a seven-day ritual in rhythm and dance, by which Songhai women in western Africa, possessed by spirits, […]

YEARNING (Mikio Naruse, 1964)

One of Mikio Naruse’s most realistic and piercing works, and one that is intermittently beautifully Ozuvian, Midareru examines the unraveling of a family whose old-fashioned market cannot compete with the new supermarket across the street—an impersonal corporate-owned consumer playground that can offer identical items at a much lower price. Japan’s new killer competitive spirit is […]

JENNIE GERHARDT (Marion Gering, 1933)

Sylvia Sidney, here exquisitely lovely as well as delicately poignant, gives her finest performance in the title role of Jennie Gerhardt, based on Theodore Dreiser’s 1911 novel. Dreiser, who didn’t think much of the novel, his second, nevertheless admired the film, which he described as “beautifully interpreted.” Director Marion Gering gave this piece of work […]