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The Insect Woman/ Nishi-Ginza Station - Dual Format (Blu-ray+DVD) [Masters of Cinema] [1963]

Sachiko Hidari , Shohei Imamura    Suitable for 15 years and over   Blu-ray
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 10.40 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

The Insect Woman/ Nishi-Ginza Station - Dual Format (Blu-ray+DVD) [Masters of Cinema] [1963] + Pigs & Battleships / Stolen Desire [Dual Format Blu-ray & DVD] [Masters of Cinema] [1958]
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Product details

  • Actors: Sachiko Hidari
  • Directors: Shohei Imamura
  • Format: DVD+Blu-ray
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region B/2 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Eureka Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 20 Feb 2012
  • Run Time: 175 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 31,436 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

“My heroines are true to life just look around you at Japanese women. They are strong, and they outlive men,” director Shohei Imamura once observed. And so an audacious, anthropological approach to filmmaking came into full maturity with the director's vast 1963 chronicle of pre- and post-war Japan, The Insect Woman [Nippon-konchûki, or An Account of Japanese Insects].

Comparing his heroine, Tome Matsuki (played by Sachiko Hidari, who won the "Best Actress" award at the 1964 Berlin Film Festival for the role) to the restlessness and survival instincts of worker insects, the film is an unsparing study of working-class female life. Beginning with Tome s birth in 1918, it follows her through five decades of social change, several improvised careers, and male-inflicted cruelty.

Elliptically plotted, brimming over with black humour and taboo material, and immaculately staged in crystalline NikkatsuScope, The Insect Woman is arguably Imamura's most radical and emphatic testament to female resilience.

The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present The Insect Woman alongside Imamura's rarely seen 1958 feature Nishi-Ginza Station in a special Dual Format edition.


  • Newly restored high-definition master of The Insect Woman
  • New progressive transfer of Nishi-Ginza Station, a 1958 feature by Imamura
  • Newly translated optional English subtitles for both films
  • A video conversation about The Insect Woman between Imamura and critic Tadao Sato
  • A lavish booklet featuring essays by film scholar Tony Rayns on both films, rare archival imagery, and more!

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Woman Power 7 April 2013
By Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Brutal, devastating and all too real in its depiction of a woman's life span- it spits out its remorse into a world composed of an inherent nihilism as people try to makemutual bonds to offer a meaning to being alive.

As a film it provides an insight into a world which exists without a shred of remorse or pity; the allusion to the title of the insect woman. However within its nihilism it brims with pathos as a depiction of a world twisted with cruelty. As it turns its circle it becomes a whirling tour de force.

Structured upon the portrayal of a woman wishing to rise forever upward, the film builds on a life inhabited as both careless and carefree - beaming the impact of non sacred family systems; where sex is given away freely as any purchasable commodity. Encompassing the pre war and post war impact of war and trauma, it offers few moments of light relief.

A film about women but without the solace of feminism, as it deftly travels beyond any particular creeds, although it acknowledges all of them including socialism along with women's struggles to depict one form of emotional reality, life in the silk factory as Japan sought to expand to meet the demands of its imperialist vision in the grand competition.

Takes in Marxism, sex working, greed, double standards, having children out of wedlock, racism, social autism and then spins it around and around the fork of life to produce a dollop of an existence encased in constant struggle. It is barely matched by anything else produced in the modern era as it omits sentimentality. As a gape into a mode of being which has gone it stands next to those great films from the 50's which spoke about life rather than offer an escape from it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By Oblomov
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
A brilliant and moving film that tracks the life of a country girl who spends her life trying to better herself but falls prey at every turn to the men who rule and sexually abuse her from childhood onwards. Great direction, all on location, which made the lighting and camera angles incredibly difficult. This sounds like a depressing film but it is far from it as the "insect woman" attempts to fight and overcome every obstacle put in front of her. Extras in the form of a very informative booklet and an interview with the director which is very good indeed.
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