Ever since I watched this Japanese master piece, I found it depicting the profound human condition in a very basic environment more than in another master piece epic film, also by the Japanese, “The Human Condition” (1959-61). In this “Ballad of Narayama (1983) (there is another earlier not very good version in 1958), all animal basic instincts surrounding and surpassing the ontological development of the animal man. Though morality slowly thrived even in a beginning vague concept, it already appeared to be an impediment rather than an advantage on the road of survival, as it was depicted in “the human condition” in our modern world.

As we all have witnessed in the human world around us, and experienced this human condition ourselves, that morals/morality was, and has always been an impediment to our “success”, our “welfare”. This invention of intrinsic values is for ever a personal hard choice with anticipated and expected severe consequences, particularly in our statist modern life. Yet, despite of this harsh reality, amazingly many of us , though not majority I guess, still determine to look up to it, live by it to fulfill our lives, in the hope of bettering our world as humane society!

Please find time to enjoy this Japanese master piece if you have not done so, and as always draw your own conclusion.

Phi Quyen Chinh