Monday, February 20, 2012

#471: Pigs, Pimps & Prostitutes: 3 Films by Shohei Imamura

(Shohei Imamura, 1961-1964)

As you may have guessed, Pigs, Pimps & Prostitutes is all about one movie for me, Intentions of Murder. What's so rewarding about stumbling upon this film from a personal perspective is the unlikelihood of finding it without first taking on this seemingly unending task of watching every movie in the collection. Even assuming I would have heard about the film or its director is a stretch considering Imamura's relatively low profile in the US. But  Intentions of Murder is also the third film in a boxset that consists of two other films I respected a great deal but didn't especially like, so the chance of actually sticking with the set all the way through so I could watch a two-and-a-half hour movie about woman who is sexually assaulted is even less likely.

In general, it's not especially surprising that this is one of the more overlooked boxsets in the collection. Imamura's work is not as obviously allegorical or universal as that of Hiroshi Teshigahara, and his emphasis on female protagonists certainly hurts his accessibility in a male-centric film community. But Criterion's work here - both aesthetically and technically - is no less impressive than in their Teshigahara set, and it's a reminder that they insist on a high level of quality across their catalog regardless of the core feature's profile. The fact that I enjoyed Intentions of Murder as much as I did makes me only that much more excited at the prospect of more undiscovered gems to come.

Individual reviews:
Pigs and Battleships
The Insect Woman
Intentions of Murder

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