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Pigs, Pimps and Prostitutes: 3 Films by Shohei Imamura (The Criterion Collection)


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In the 1960s, Japanese filmmakers responded to a stale studio system by looking for new ways to tell stories; Shohei Imamura was one of the leading figures of this new wave. With the three films in this set—Pigs and Battleships, The Insect Woman, and Intentions of Murder—Imamura truly emerged as an auteur, bringing to his national cinema an anthropological eye and a heretofore unseen taste for the irreverent. Claiming his interests lay in “the relationship of the lower part of the human body and the lower part of the social structure,” Imamura dotted the decade with earthy, juicy, idiosyncratic films featuring persevering, willful heroines. His remains a unique cinematic voice.

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Amazon.com: 3 reviews
PIGS AND BATTLESHIPS: The title is the best part! Dec 27 2014
By William F. Flanigan Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
Film = barely two (2) stars; subtitles = zero (0) star; restoration = five (5) stars. Director Shohei Imamura has laid a very large egg with this amateurish, improvised, and un-engaging movie. (I'm surprised the studio risked damage to its reputation by even allowing its release to art-house circuits! More about this later.) The plot deals with the lowest of the low level of yakuza gang members towards the end of the Japanese occupation in the late 1950's. The direction and acting are so bad that it, well, gives the yakuza a bad name. (You'll see better productions mounted in high-school plays.) Then there are the subtitles. What a mess. They are so amateurishly long and frequent that the viewer has two basic options: (1) focus on the titles and forego the visuals and most of the dialog; or (2) turn off the subtitles and take your chances with the local (mostly Yokosuka) slang and dialects. (Of course, there is a third alternative: watch the film both ways--recommend only for those with strong constitutions!) Interiors meticulously recreate a portion of the local red-light district. But the action is clearly staged and phony. Same for the real exteriors where the action looks unreal even though the sets are not. Cinematography and lighting (wide-screen, black and white) are excellent. Music seems out of place and mercifully limited mostly to the opening/closing credits. Costumes often look like they are every-day clothes that belong to the actors. Now back to the film's title and its impact on the releasing studio's reputation. The battleships are American and the pigs (the four-legged varieties) are Japanese. But does the Director also have a culturally inappropriate and insulting metaphor in mind? The film is ambiguously anti-American. But seems clearly anti-Japanese. Skip this turkey. WILLIAM FLANIGAN, PhD.
27 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Three Imamura films dealing with vice June 6 2009
By Ted - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This set from the Criterion Collection contains three films by the Japanese director Shohei Imamura.

"Pigs and Battleships", titled "Buta to gunkan" in Japan is a depiction of US servicemen in postwar Japan and their patronization of prostitutes.

"The Insect Woman", titled "Nippon konchuki" in Japan, is about the life of a woman in Japan who was abused as a child.

"Intentions of Murder" titled "Akai satsui" in Japan is about a woman who is raped by a burglar and later falls in love with him.

The films are all interesting and I found the first one to be interesting near the ending of the film when several farm trucks release hundreds of pigs into the street.

Each disc has supplements which I found interesting also.

Disc one contains "Imamura: The Freethinker" a 1995 episode of a French TV series, and an interview with film critic Tony Rayns

Disc two contains a discussion of the film "Insect Woman" by Shohei
Imamura and film critic Tadao Sato and an interview about the film by Tony Rayns

Disc three contains the same material as disc two but with reference to the film "Intentions of Murder"
4 of 12 people found the following review helpful
AN EXTRAORDINARY COLLECTION OF IMAMURA'S EARLY MASTERPIECES Dec 12 2012
By HAN XIAO - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
FIRST, CRITERION'S DIGITAL TRANSFER IS AWESOME, ESPECIALLY COMPARED WITH MOC'S PIGS AND BATTLESHIPS BLU-RAY, IT STILL HAS POWER.

AMONG THESE THREE FILMS, I LOVE PIGS AND BATTLESHIPS BEST, BECAUSE IT CLEARLY SHOWED IMAMURA'S LATER STYLE: REALISM, HUMANITY PORTRAIT WITH SEX AND VIOLENCE, HOWEVER, NEVER GONE ANY "TOO" FAR, WHICH MADE IT WIDELY ACCEPTED BY CRITICS AND AUDIENCES.

I GUESS ONLY CRITERION'S FUTURE BLU-RAY EDITION WILL EXCEED THIS. DO YO AGREE? ACTUALLY, I HOPE NOT. BECAUSE FOR MANY TIMES I THINK BLU-RAY FORMAT IS NOT THAT SUITABLE FOR OLD FILMS, ESPECIALLY FOR B&W FILMS BEFORE 1970.


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