The Ballad of Narayama

Synopsis: In Kabuki style, the film tells the story of a remote mountain village where the scarcity of food leads to a voluntary but socially-enforced policy in which relatives carry 70-year-old family members up Narayama mountain to die. Granny Orin is approaching 70, content to embrace her fate. Her widowed son Tatsuhei cannot bear losing his mother, even as she arranges his marriage to a widow his age. Her grandson Kesa, who's girlfriend is pregnant, is selfishly happy to see Orin die. Around them, a family of thieves are dealt with severely, and an old man, past 70, whose son has cast him out, scrounges for food. Will Orin's loving and accepting spirit teach and ennoble her family?
Genre: Drama
Director(s): Keisuke Kinoshita
Production: Criterion Collection
  6 wins & 1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
98 min

The Ballad of Narayama

What are you going to do at Shinyashiki, Tatsuhei?


How's your Dad?

Not so well, and not so bad

Arlue, give me the axe

Grandma, how old are you?

Your teeth look so healthy

There should be no problem

even eating pinecones and dried beans

I haven't eaten such things before

Grandma has about 33 teeth.

Don't be silly, only 28.

You stop counting after 28.

Surely more than 28.

Kesakichi, stop talking and go to work.

Is that smelly boy still sleeping?

Risuke, Risuke...

Harumatsu's hungry.

Did you go to Shinyashiki last night?

Did you go to that bitch's house by stealth

with the farmhand in the country?

No, I didn't.

They treat that dog like a sweet girl

The ex-master has killed

the farmhand who maltreated his daughter

I said I didn't go there.

Though a farmhand, you are still my brother

You would be disgraced if you caused some scandal

It's so smelly here, let's go over there

Uncle! I...

What happened? Don't scream

It doesn't seem so sweet now.

Where is grandma?

Mum! Mum!

You all right?

It looks like Misuiko in the paddy field there

really trouble to face her at that moment

To meet Misuiko?

She is so fat it would be

impossible to make a mistake


My daughter-in-law will send me to the grave.


Within 10 days I think

You must send me there

Risuke, where's Misuiko?

Where's there?

Wash your face a little next time, ok?

I barely can breathe now....

Your Misuiko is at the field

So what, at the smelly field?

She will be smelly soon

So I don't have to go there to handle it yet

Thanks for telling me

Then go there to handle it

or it will hinder my work

She is not smelly yet

However, go there soon!

You idiot!

Why are you so nervous? However smelly

she gets she cannot compare to you

OK, I won't butt into your business!

Anyone in the country knows it

So smelly!

If I finish this

I will go to the field then

What the hell is that?

Isn't that what you want?

It's without measure

Isn't that Shioya?

Oh, Suzuba, long time no see

Haven't seen you for a year, the girl is cute

But her mother

Tatsuhei's wife...

I've heard about her. So miserable...

After her childbirth, she went out picking chestnuts

and fell down from the cliff

Get up! get some drink

Has Tatsuhei gone to the hill to work?

No, to the field.

I thought I met him at the western mountain

on the way here

Saw Tatsuhei?

I maybe mistook him, as I was so far away

Suzuba, my purpose coming here today is nothing else but..

Isn't this salt?

I've not made a decision to buy it

Not for business

It was Mr. Matayan of the neighbouring country

who told me to send it to you

The neighbouring country?

I beg you to do me a favor for Tatsuhei's remarriage

It's so cold

The madam is coming from the neighbour country

She is called Tama

Just became a widow the day before yesterday

She will come here after the 100 days of mourning

She is 37, 8 years younger than you

I needn't make a selection for my plight

Smelly boy, don't come near me

Risuke, don't come near him if he told you not to

Kesakichi will inherit from Tatsuhei to become the master of the family


Did you go to the western mountain this morning?


Shioya said he saw you

You are getting more and more like Ribei now

He said he saw the master?

It is impossible for a man who got lost 30 years ago to be still alive

Oh, a mistake

Don't cry


You really don't know about Dad's disappearance?

It was when you were 15, and Risuke was 5

Very bad harvest that year

The girl who just gave birth was sold to Shioya

and Ribei's mother and me both are 69

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