A leader of the postwar independent film production movement. Imai was an erratically brilliant filmmaker whose controversial leftist views and "subversive" activities forced him outside Japan's studi...
Began working as a "prestige" director for Toei, Daiei and other studios
Wrote first screenplay
Directed first feature, "The Namazu Military Academy"
Appointed director when J.O. Studio absorbed by Toho
Worked as freelance filmmaker; initiated independnent film production movement (date approximate)
Returned to independent production with "River Without Bridges"
Joined the Communist Party after WWII
Joined J.O. Studio in Kyoto; worked as assistant to directors Ishida, Namiki and Nakagawa
Arrested twice for his leftist activity during his university studies
During WWII made propaganda films celebrating the ruling Rightist regime
Fired by Toho Studios for initiating a strike
A leader of the postwar independent film production movement. Imai was an erratically brilliant filmmaker whose controversial leftist views and "subversive" activities forced him outside Japan's studio system. He directed his first feature, "The Namazu Military Academy", in 1939 but shortly after was forced to give up politics under the wartime military regime and began making war-collaboration propaganda films.
After the war, Imai joined the Communist Party and returned to leftist themes, criticizing the corruption of the wartime leaders. In "The People's Enemy" (1946) Imai proselytized on behalf of postwar democracy. During this period he directed his greatest commercial success, "Green Mountains Part I and II" (1949), which depicted a small town high school's struggle against established institutions and values. Imai was blacklisted at times for his political views and was fired by Toho studios for leading a strike. His subsequent freelance work continued to focus on the plight of the downtrodden proletariat.