London Film Festival : Dendera

I am mortified. I have always thought that encapsulating a film in one paragraph saying what it is about is bound to misrepresent the film. And I have fallen in the trap with the Lebanese film Where do we go now?  To redeem myself I will just say: ‘ Go and See it and talk about it with your friends to appreciate all the issues that arise in this irreverent film’.

Yesterday’s film was Dendera (2011). Directed by Imamura’s son its starting point is the end point of his father’s great film the Ballad of Narayama (1983).  We had seen this last film in our women’s group. It was one of the rare times that attitudes to death were discussed in this group of older women.  While in the Imamura film the women are taken willingly to the mountain to freeze to death,  in  Dendera the women survive and  form a community under the leadership of a 100 years old woman only to be decimated by natural disasters.  It is worth seeing this poorly conceptualised and executed film for its basic idea of challenging the Ballad of Narayama.

About rinaross

Born in 1935. MA in Film and Television Studies at the University of Westminster 1998. Studying the representation of older women in film since then.
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1 Response to London Film Festival : Dendera

  1. Elizabeth O'Dell says:

    I saw The Ballad of Narayama with the rest of Rina’s film group and was shocked to hear the story of the custom of abandoning older people in the wilderness. So, although the custom was not new to me when I saw this film, it was still alarming to see this custom portrayed in the depths of
    winter in the Japanese mountains. (Here you need to know that I grew up in Minnesota, no mountains but plenty of snow and icy cold.) I could not imagine the cruelty the custom implies.
    But it was even more astonishing to consider what would be required of anyone who found a way
    to not only survive but to build a community.
    The story becomes increasingly improbable when the dominant leader of this entirely female group reveals that her goal is not survival in the wilderness but a revenge attack on the village
    and those who brought the women into the mountains in the first place. It is at this point that the members of the group begin to follow their own identities to the eventual dissolution of the bonds which have held the group together.
    It is an astonishingly beautiful film to look at and has terrifying episodes of the forces of nature (fire, storms, wild animals) with blood, death and feats of superhuman strength and courage. But
    the potential for exploring the custom and its consequences is lost quite early in the film, and we
    were left with an unresolved puzzle: who survivied? the woman? or the bear?

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