Shuji Terayama (December 10, 1935—May 4, 1983) was an avant-garde Japanese dramatist, writer, director, and photographer, noted for such films as Emperor Tomato Ketchup and Fruits of Passion.
In 1967, Terayama started an experimental cinema and gallery called ‘Universal Gravitation,’ which is in fact still in existence at Misawa as a resource center. The Terayama Shuji Memorial Hall, which has a large collection of his plays, novels, poetry, photography and a great number of his personal affects and relics from his theatre productions, can also be found in Misawa.
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A group of space researchers leaves earth to find freedom. Their spaceship crashes on the dark side of the moon. Shortly afterwards, all are dead save for the children and one adult. They create their own society, characterized by shamanism and the worship of fire. The last adult survivor is called the Old Man, who is both worshipped and loathed. The Old Man leaves the group of children for the mountains and sends his video diary in a rocket back to Earth. A space researcher named Marek (Andrzej Seweryn) receives the video diary and travels to the moon. When he arrives he is welcomed by the group of children as the messiah, seeing him as the reincarnation of the Old Man. Continue reading
Bristling with potent erotic imagery, this exquisite film from Spanish director Bigas Luna tells the tale of a young girl’s sexual enlightenment. When fifteen-year-old Lulu succumbs to the advances of one of her brother’s friends, Pablo, she soon finds herself in the back of his car, having her first sexual experience. Years later, when Pablo returns to Spain from teaching in the States, the two meet again and get married. Once married, they create their own private universe, spending their time making love, away from the complications of the real world. Continue reading
Director Carlos Saura’s Carmen develops a fictional story revolving around the rehearsals of Georges Bizet’s opera about the brash and colorful cigarette factory woman and her dalliance with the soldier Don José, and eventual love for Escamillo, the bullfighter. Saura introduces exciting flamenco dance scenes and a love story between Antonio (Antonio Gades), the choreographer of the opera, and the actress playing Carmen, Laura del Sol. Joan Sutherland and Paco de Lucía also perform segments from Bizet’s 1875 opera. The mix of magical choreography, rousing flamenco dances, and operatic insertions as well as the tongue-in-cheek parodies of the French opera and foreign stereotypes of Spaniards keeps most viewers well entertained throughout. Saura’s Carmen won an award for “Artistic Contribution” and for “Technical Achievement” at the Cannes Film Festival in 1983, another award for “Technical Achievement” at the 1983 Venice Film Festival, and the “Best Foreign Language Film” award at the 1984 British Academy Awards. It was the second in a trilogy of films choreographed in a similar style by Antonio Gades. Continue reading
In a murky, sometimes confusing tale about a future dystopia in which people are waiting — and waiting — for a rescue ship called the Ark, there are several good one-liners, but they are outnumbered by the puzzling riddles and symbolism that permeate the story. The flotsam and jetsam of humanity are huddled together in an underground labyrinth after civilization as we know it has been obliterated by the Bomb. The survivors are protected by a dome which a repairman notes is bound to crack before the Ark arrives because it was constructed under a one-year plan. The hero of the film searches for the origins of the myth about the Ark and along the way falls in love with a prostitute. It seems the world’s oldest profession has also survived the nuclear holocaust. Continue reading
The movie, based on a novel by Jim Thompson, the poet of circa-1950 pulp noir, has a stubborn, sullen truth to it, focusing on its handful of characters during the course of a particularly incompetent kidnapping. The story is so intimate that everything depends on the performances, and Jason Patric, Rachel Ward and Bruce Dern, and a character actor named George Dickerson, bring a grim, poetic sadness to the story. Film noir, we are reminded, is not about action and victory, but about incompetence and defeat. If it has a happy ending, something went wrong…
“After Dark, My Sweet” is the movie that eluded audiences; it grossed less than $3 million, has been almost forgotten, and remains one of the purest and most uncompromising of modern films noir. It captures above all the lonely, exhausted lives of its characters…
It begins with exhaustion and despair, stirs itself into half-hearted evil, and then in a final desperate sequence finds barely
enough heroism to bring itself to a stop again. I have seen “After Dark, My Sweet” four times, and it only deepens with the retelling.–Roger Ebert
Director David Lynch crafted this hallucinogenic mystery-thriller that probes beneath the cheerful surface of suburban America to discover sadomasochistic violence, corruption, drug abuse, crime and perversion.
Kyle Maclachlan stars as Jeffrey Beaumont, a square-jawed young man who returns to his picture-perfect small town when his father suffers a stroke. Walking through a field near his home, Jeff discovers a severed human ear, which he immediately brings to the police. Their disinterest sparks Jeff’s curiosity, and he is soon drawn into a dangerous drama that’s being played out by a lounge singer, Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini) and the ether-addicted Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper). The sociopathic Booth has kidnapped Dorothy’s young son and is using the child as a bargaining chip to repeatedly beat, humiliate and rape Dorothy. Though he’s drawn to the virginal, wholesome Sandy Williams (Laura Dern), Jeff is also aroused by Dorothy and in trying to aid her, he discovers his dark side. Continue reading