A Man Vanishes Screen 6 articles

A Man Vanishes

1967

A Man Vanishes Poster
  • Its purposefully out-of-synch images and sounds lending it a churning, discordant quality, A Man Vanishes brims with Imamura motifs. The restraints of society and family on the individual, the contrasts between urban and rural communities, and irrational impulses all feature prominently. Hayakawa herself is a typical Imamura heroine, perhaps more dour than his previous force-of-nature women, and yet never less than tenacious in her emotional pursuit.

  • Imamura himself seems to get bored with his subject after a while, turning from Oshima’s disappearance to investigate Yoshie instead... Then Imamura orders his crew to strike the set and the film makes a 180-degree turn, the walls that had surrounded the cast falling away as the camera pulls back to reveal a soundstage. That literal breach of the fourth wall signals the beginning of a surrealistic ending that straddles the border between fact and fiction.

  • Took me forever to discern that sound and vision were deliberately out of sync, not just the victim of impoverished post-dubbing, which certainly underlines the theme of the unreliability of filmed "documentation" but which (personal problem) might be the most irritating thing in the world to watch for 90 minutes. Sort of fascinating for the sheer number of interviewees (seems like a record), but all the IT'S NOT REAL IT'S CINEMA dicking-around gets old...

  • Though the manner in which he rides the era’s questioning, pranky zeitgeist in the name of exploring identity—both Oshima’s and the movie’s—had little precedent in his back catalog, the result immediately feels completely of a piece with his piercing looks at humanity in extremis.

  • As the search for Oshima extends to those who scarcely seem to know him — the location shifting from perfectly framed cramped interiors to dense city scenes and expansive country landscapes — “A Man Vanishes” kinks this way and that, growing knottier and more fascinating.

  • Not content to give up the chase, Imamura and his crew dig deeper into their quarry’s whereabouts, backtracking and retreating until conventional theorizing and methodology begin to lose their shape entirely. Every breakthrough leads to a tangent, and countless tangents turn into dead ends: what may have happened, and what is _actually_ happening, don’t always sync up. Or, if they do, it’s a hair too convenient for comfort.

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