Michael Kerpan wrote:I agree -- but think the director whose attitude towards women comes closest (at points) to that of Imamura is Naruse.
Had the good fortune to pair Insect Woman
with some Naruse last month with my wife. I think this comparison is fruitful but, I'd say, mostly for the differences.
Both share a certain resigned hopelessness, but Naruse tends to endow his betrodden protagonists with a noble grace. Obviously, Imamura does nothing of the sort in Insect Woman
, a rare film in which I'm actually hoping for some merciful accident to befall the main character by the film's end.
Not really a two-sides of the coin situation, but excellent companions. Mama from When A Woman Ascends the Stairs
, as one example of Naruse's working woman, is presented as a magnificently, gorgeously, romantically tragic character, though tragic nonetheless. In Insect Woman
, we see something much more seedy. Though I wouldn't call the film more complex, Imamura's film certainly gets some added mileage by delving into its character's complicity in the life she's found herself leading. But at no point do I ever feel strongly that there were better options for her. What I think makes the pairing of the film with Naruse's work interesting to me is that Naruse's films don't present any attractive alternatives. Sure, the characters are more sympathetic because they are not opportunistic, but in return they get nothing but melancholie.
I'd be interested in looking at some Mizoguchi in comparison here as well. Although I must say that he's never really been my favorite.
PS - I recently relocated to Germany, and at the moment I'm really feeling like my English hasn't had much exercise lately. I hope the above doesn't come off too wonky...