Shuji Terayama

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

Shuji Terayama adapted his 1981 film, The Fruits of Passion, from the eponymous Pauline Reage’s sequel to her well regarded book, The Story of O. However, ‘adapted’ is used very loosely in this instance, as Terayama uses the opportunity to completely reshape the structure of the novel, and use only it’s themes and characters to create a story that is uniquely his. According to the credits, the text of the narration and O’s dialogue itself was taken directly from the short novel, but everything else is pure Terayama. Read More »

Shûji Terayama – Bokusâ AKA The Boxer (1977)

Quote:
In mid-career, while he is on a winning streak, and in the middle of a fight he is winning, a young boxer is revolted by the violence of the game. He allows himself to be beaten up and quits the match and the sport. He also leaves his wife and child and lives alone with his moth-eaten old dog, all the while losing his sight. Years later, he is hunted down by a young man who is ambitious to become a prize-winning boxer. Persistence pays off, and he eventually persuades the ex-boxer to be his manager and trainer. The boy begins his rise to success, though he has a stormy relationship with his manager. Read More »

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. Read More »

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. Read More »

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. Read More »

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. Read More »

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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