The Profound Desire of the Gods

One of the best and most ambitious features by Shohei Imamura, this farcical fable (1968), set on a tropical island, probably won?t convert those turned off by his work?s strident overacting and spirited vulgarity. But it has some compensations—in particular, some beautiful nature photography. An interbred family of primitives (including a horny and mentally challenged young woman abused by her grandfather and a man in love with his shamaness sister) confronts a Tokyo engineer sent to develop the local sugarcane. What ensues calls to mind the fiction of Erskine Caldwell and offers some mordant, quasi-ethnographic reflections about civilization. In Japanese with subtitles. 170 min.

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