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The Naked Island
Directed by Kaneto Shindo • 1960 • Japan
Starring Nobuko Otowa, Taiji Tonoyama, Shinji Tanaka
Director Kaneto Shindo's documentary-like, dialogue-free portrayal of daily struggle is a work of stunning visual beauty and invention. The international breakthrough for one of Japan's most innovative filmmakers, who went on to make other unique masterworks such as ONIBABA and KURONEKO, THE NAKED ISLAND follows a family whose home is on a tiny, remote island in the Japanese archipelago. They must row a great distance to another shore, collect water from a well in buckets, and row back to their island, a nearly backbreaking task essential for the survival of these people and their land. Featuring a phenomenal modernist score by Hikaru Hayashi, this is a truly hypnotic experience, with a rhythm unlike that of any other film.