Ballad of Narayama

Keisuke Kinoshita (1958)

"A Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty.”
Roger Ebert, 2013

In a remote mountainous village, tradition dictates that the elderly must embark on a pilgrimage to the holy Narayama mountain, in search of death. Approaching 70, Granny Orin still has a full set of teeth and sturdy hands, but decides that tradition must not be broken — much to the chagrin of her loving son, and to the delight of an ungrateful grandson.

Told in traditional kabuki style, Ballad of Narayama combines a beautiful palette of warm colours with masterful lighting to weave a tale of maternal love at odds with a cruel society. As Granny Orin ventures deeper into premature death, we join her in a reflection of loving and letting go.  Even in our modern times, Kinoshita’s meditation on the temporal nature of family and kinship rings ever so true.

Widely regarded as Kinoshita’s greatest achievement, and an essential work of the golden age of Japanese cinema in the 1950s, the film also competed for the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.

Keisuke Kinoshita


In Japanese with English subtitles


PG (Some Disturbing Scenes)


Sunday, 18 Oct

4.30 PM

Sunday, 18 Oct

4.30 PM

98 mins