Shohei Imamura was a Japanese film director. Imamura is the only Japanese director to win two Palme d’Or awards.
Imamura was born to a comfortably upper-middle-class doctor’s family in Tokyo in 1926. For a short time after 1945, when Japan was in a devastated condition following the war, Imamura participated in the black market selling cigarettes and liquor. Reflecting this period of his life, Imamura’s interests as a filmmaker were usually focused on the lower strata of Japanese society. He studied Western history at Waseda University, but spent more time participating in theatrical and political activities. He cited a viewing of Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon in 1950 as an early inspiration, and said he saw it as an indication of the new freedom of expression possible in Japan in the post-war era.
– 1980 Japan Academy Prize for Director of the Year – Vengeance Is Mine
– 1983 Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival – The Ballad of Narayama
– 1989 Prize of the Ecumenical Jury – Special Mention, Technical Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival Black Rain
– 1990 Japan Academy Prize for Director of the Year – Black Rain
– 1997 Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival – The Eel
– 1998 Japan Academy Prize for Director of the Year – The Eel