A Man Vanishes + The Pirates of Bubuan (11/18, 3:00pm)

The Pirates of Bubuan – 3:00pm
In ballsy, proto-Nick Broomfield fashion, Shohei Imamura puts himself directly in the line of danger to film The Pirates of Bubuan, a startling documentary glimpse of shady activity on the Phillipine high seas in the early 1970s. As an unintended side effect of bringing a camera crew into relatively unknown territory, Imamura also captures the experiences of native islanders eking out their day-to-day lives on both the poverty line and the idyllic shoreline.
The Pirates of Bubuan Dir. Shohei Imamura, 1972, HD presentation, 46 min.

A Man Vanishes – 4:00pm
“Reality or fiction? Imamura’s documentary (or is it?) blurs the line so well it deserves a new category. Let’s call it friction.” — Kinnemaniac

“In a coup de cinéma that has been equaled only by Abbas Kiarostami’s ‘Close-Up’, Imamura transforms fact into artifice, being into acting, personal identity into a tenuous fabrication.” –James Quandt, Cinematheque Ontario

One of his greatest, most challenging works, A Man Vanishes begins as a filmic investigation by Shohei Imamura (director of Vengeance Is Mine, The Pornographers, Insect Woman) into one of Japan’s thousands of missing persons cases that occur each year. What starts as stylish, yet straightforward reportage quickly balloons into a grand octopus of a docudrama, as Imamura teases the audience with: a) hiring an actor to pose as the film’s private dick; b) giving up on the main thread, and instead going down the rabbit-hole of tale-within-a-tale tangential obsessions, Saragossa Manuscript-style; and c) the real-life fiancée of the missing salaryman taking a “greater interest” in Imamura himself. Wow! Radical in scope, technique, and aesthetic, A Man Vanishes distills many of Imamura’s central themes and obsessions (shining a light onto Japan’s uptight underbelly, and its second-class treatment of women), and pulls the rug out from underneath the audience multiple times, to create a mosaic as throbbing with electricity and ambiguity as modern life itself.
Dir. Shohei Imamura, 1967, HD presentation, 130 min.

For more info on A Man Vanishes, read Kinnemaniac’s lovingly detailed review here.

Watch the trailer for “A Man Vanishes”!
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Watch the trailer for “The Pirates of Bubuan”!