(Shohei Imamura, 1968, 173 min, Japan, Japanese w/ English subtitles, Color, DVD)
The film will be introduced by Takushi Odagiri, Visiting Professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at Duke.
The culmination of Shohei Imamura’s extraordinary examinations of the fringes of Japanese society throughout the 1960s, Profound Desires of the Gods was an 18-month super-production which failed to make an impression at the time of its release, but has since risen in stature to become one of the most legendary albeit least seen Japanese films of recent decades. Presenting a vast chronicle of life on the remote Kurage Island, the film centers on the disgraced, superstitious, interbred Futori family and the Tokyo engineer sent to supervise the creation of a new well – an encounter which leads to both conflict
and complicity in strange and powerful ways. A tragic view of a passing epoch that teeters on the edge of grotesque farce, Imamura’s merciless gaze combines with spectacular color CinemaScope photography to create a mythic saga convulsing with earthly impulses.
DATE: February 19, 2012
LOCATION: White Lecture Hall, East Campus, Duke