Photo of Shohei Imamura Shohei Imamura

Born Sept. 15, 1926, in Tokyo, Shohei Imamura once stated that he was "interested in people: strong, greedy, humorous, deceitful people" -- a viewpoint that's abundantly evident in the director's impressive body of work.

Imamura enrolled in technical college to avoid being drafted in World War II, shifting his focus to playwriting and filmmaking after the war ended. Part of the Japanese New Wave, Imamura made his directorial debut in 1958 with Stolen Desire. But it was with his 1961 gangster farce Pigs and Battleships that he hit his stride and began to focus on the fringe figures, strong women and messy characters that would come to characterize his work.

After spending much of the 1970s making documentaries, Imamura returned to features during his later years, winning the Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or for both The Ballad of Narayama (1983) and Unagi (1997). He died on May 30, 2006.

Shohei Imamura in The Pornographers

The Pornographers

1966 NR

Yoshimoto Ogata believes it's his patriotic duty to provide smut to his fellow men. He uses the profits from his 8mm films to support his lover and her two children. Although never explicit, this movie contains disturbing content, including intimations of incest and the exploitation of a mentally retarded girl. Based on a scandalous novel, the film boldly investigates the relationship between sexual desire and one bizarre family.

  • Shohei Imamura in Vengeance Is Mine Vengeance Is Mine
  • Shohei Imamura in Warm Water Under a Red Bridge Warm Water Under a Red Bridge
  • Shohei Imamura in Pigs and Battleships Pigs and Battleships
  • Shohei Imamura in The Insect Woman The Insect Woman
  • Shohei Imamura in Intentions of Murder Intentions of Murder
  • Shohei Imamura in The Ballad of Narayama The Ballad of Narayama
  • Shohei Imamura in Black Rain Black Rain
  • Shohei Imamura in 2009 Lost Memories 2009 Lost Memories
  • Shohei Imamura in September 11 September 11