Synopsis by Nathan Southern
One of the giants of Japanese cinema, Shohei Imamura (1926-2006),helmed this unique, stylistically groundbreaking picture that erodes the barriers between truth and invention, fact and myth. Initially, we're handed a seemingly straightforward documentary - an investigation into one of many missing persons ases that populate Japan every year. An on-camera commentator informs us that Tadashi, a Japanese businessman, has vanished into thin air and, for all he knows, "may be hiding in a hole somewhere." From there, Imamura and his crew begin to systematically interview those with a connection to Tadashi, including his fiancée, Yoshie. As the movie rolls forward, however, numerous uncertainties come to light - regarding their relationship, Tadashi's business per se, his relationship with his sister-in-law, and much more - until finally, even the motivations and the honesty of the director himself are thrown into doubt. A Man Vanishes suffered from unrectifiable technical issues in post-production, that kept lengthy portions of the audio out of synch with the image, and that have lingered until the present day. Despite this fact, it is considered a classic of world cinema, and received critical raves on both sides of the Atlantis during its UK reissue in 2011 and its U.S. reissue the following year.