Shûji Terayama – Isoppu Monogatari AKA Aesop’s Fables (1973)

Oh man, this is a gem. Highly recommended if you dig Tenjosajiki/Terayama’s musical numbers. For starters, take a peek at this lineup:

Lyrics composed by Terayama Shuji
Music composed by J.A. Seazer, Panta, Fukamachi Jun…
Performed by Zunou Keisatsu (Brain Police, far left political rock band, Les Rallizes Denudes’ Hiroshi Nar was a member at one time), Tanaka Seiji

Terayama Shuji’s slightly…dark? interpretations of the fables, mixed with the absolutely wonderful composition and experimental, theatrical vocals/instrumentation…it’s a surreal journey. Continue reading

Shûji Terayama – Sho o suteyo machi e deyou aka Throw Away Your Books, Rally in the Streets (1971)

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“Throw away your books, Go out into the streets!” is Terayama’s adaptation of Terayma’s eponymous book and play. This actually is his first full-length film as a director after shooting a few shorts experimental footage, and writing scenarios for other directors as Hani Susumu (Nanami Inferno of first love 1968) or Shinoda Masahiro (Buraikan 1970). Basically the story is about a teen in Japan, who plays soccer and deals with his highly dysfunctional family. His grandma is senile, his sister loves her pet rabbit to the point of sexual obsession, and his father gets him a prostitute so he can be more of a man. Out of rage our protagonist runs away and hits the street. But the main story is broken up by random short narratives of various Japanese strangers, punk like sing along and psychedelic surreal imagery. Continue reading

Shuji Terayama – Den-en ni shisu aka Pastoral : To Die in the Country aka Pastoral Hide-and-Seek (1974)

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Quote:
Terayama’s second feature recapitulates some of the main themes of Throw Away Your Books in more directly personal terms: it’s a film about a film-maker’s re-examination (and attempted revision) of his own childhood. His boyhood self is an unprepossessing lad who lives with his monstrous, widowed mother, fantasises about the desirable girl-next-door, and finds the visiting circus a touchstone for his dreams of escape. With passion, wit and a genuinely engaging charm, Terayama poses the burning question: Does murdering your mother constitute a true liberation? The autobiographical stance and the circus motif have evoked countless comparisons with Fellini, but they’re very wide of the mark: the film isn’t burdened with bombast or rhetoric, but it is rich in (authentically Japanese) poetry, and its modernist approach is challenging in the best and most accessible sense. Continue reading

Shuji Terayama – Les Fruits de la passion AKA Fruits of Passion (1981)

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from IMDB……Though the film concerns the “O” and Sir Stephen characters, it really has nothing to do with Pauline Reage’s original novel or the 1974 film The Story of O. However, the film does pay attention to artistic detail and symbolism of an almost mystic kind. “O” decides to prostitute herself for Sir Stephen in violent 1920s Hong Kong. Her mission is to prove her unending devotion and love for her master through giving her body to other men. Naturally, Sir Stephen enjoys watching her during her unpleasant sexual escapades and even finds himself a mistress. However, the tables are turned when “O” actually finds a kind of love with a young male admirer. Suddenly, Sir Stephen feels the threat… Continue reading

Shuji Terayama – Tomato Kecchappu Kôtei aka Emperor Tomato Ketchup (1971)

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Synopsis
EMPEROR TOMATO KETCHUP is Terayama’s epic, sexually revolutionary and hallucinatory work from 1972 in which magical women act as the initiatory, yet protectively maternal sexual partners to children. The children, in revolt, have condemned their parents to death for depriving them of self-expression and sexual freedom; they create a society in which fairies and sex education are equally important and literally combinable. Continue reading

Shuji Terayama – Saraba Hakobune aka Farewell To The Ark (1984)

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In a tale that is visually stunning in certain segments, director Shuji Terayama (who died before this movie was released) has woven a spell of magic and social reprobation around the forbidden love of two cousins. Su-e (Mayumi Ogawa) and her cousin Sutekichi (Tsutomu Yamazaki), a descendant of one of the village clans, live together but have been forbidden by her father to have sexual contact. Like other villagers, he believes that if cousins have children together, the children will suffer serious birth defects. His remedy is to make Su-e wear a large, ugly chastity belt. Unable to take the ridicule of his fellow villagers, Sutekichi stabs the head of the clan to death and then runs away with Su-e. After some time elapses, the two make their way back to the village, but by then Sutekichi is suffering the effects of his actions…
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Just Jaeckin, Shuji Terayama, Walerian Borowczyk – Private Collections AKA Collections privees [+Extras] (1979)

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Quote:
“For legendary producer Pierre Braunberger (Shoot The Piano Player), it was the most enticing of challenges: Invite the three most controversial directors in modern erotic cinema to indulge their fantasies in one daring film. The result remains one of the most uniquely sensual motion pictures of our time.

In the first story from director Just Jaeckin (Emmanuelle, Gwendoline), a castaway sailor is rescued by a tribe of succulent native women – led by the stunning Laura Gemser of Black Emmanuelle fame – who soon reveal their most unusual appetites. Then director Shuji Terayama (Fruits Of Passion) explores the haunting tale of a Japanese boy seduced by the riddle song of a village madwoman. And in the bold adaptation of a short story by De Maupassant, director Walerian Borowczyk (Immoral Women, The Beast) reveals the torrid liaison between a Parisian gentleman, a Follie Bergere prostitute and an unexpected surprise that hides in the night.” Continue reading