Shima Iwashita portrays the title character, a blind traveling musician whom is expected to remain celibate. Raped, she is expelled from her group and ultimately meets a young man who is opposed to Japanese militarism. —cdjapan.co.jp
Masahiro Shinoda is one of the most prominent filmmakers of the Japanese New Wave, along with Nagisa Oshima and Shohei Imamura. While Oshima’s films were often a venue for political provocation and Imamura’s work seemed to be a bawdy refutation of Yasujiro Ozu’s refined passivity, Shinoda’s movies detail the spiritual emptiness of post-war Japanese life and search for some essence of the Japanese character.
Shinoda was born into one of the most illustrious families in central Gifu Prefecture in 1931. His ancestors were large landowners and village leaders of a small town that is now part of Gifu City. They also had a long literary and cultural heritage. His great uncle was the model for the main character in one of Toson Shimazaki’s novels, and Shinoda’s cousin is one of Japan’s leading abstract calligraphers. As a child, Shinoda was studious, applying himself to mathematics and physics; but by the end of World War II, he experienced the same sort of bitter disillusionment as… read more
A poignant,heartbreaking n devastatingly beautiful tale of d struggles of a woman whose desires r bound by d chains of societal mores n patriarchal oppression ! Shinoda paints a bleak picture of a society which induces guilt in women for expressing der desires, where misery is piled upon a woman (Orin) at every step for being unable to restrain her desires n d daily battles she has to wage against dis guilt. The fact dat she remains graceful through it all reflects dat she is fully living her life as a woman despite paying a heavy price for it. Shima Iwashita embodies Orin with subtlety bordering on sublimity n portrays her conflicts, guilt, doubts, sensuality, despair, enigma n loneliness with utmost grace ! The film functions as a feminist critique at one level and an anti war outcry on another. The narratives collide at one point where Orin gets a ringside view of the atmosphere of a country immersed in War, n d Ballad ends on a haunting, horrific and harrowing note !