četvrtak, 23. kolovoza 2012.

Shūji Terayama - Pastoral: To Die in the Country (1974) + The Emperor Tomato Ketchup (1974)...

Liminalni delirij u kojem majke ushićeno gledaju svoje mrtve fetuse, stare žene siluju dječake, glavni lik opsesivno razmišlja o ubijanju svoje majke...
Prošlost nasilno krvari u budućnost.

Shūji Terayama (寺山 修司, Terayama Shūji, December 10, 1935 – May 4, 1983) was an avant-garde Japanese poet, dramatist, writer, film director, and photographer. According to many critics and supporters, he was one of the most productive and provocative creative artists to come out of Japan. He was born December 10, 1935, the only son of Hachiro and Hatsu Terayama in Hirosaki city in the northern Japanese prefecture of Aomori. His father died at the end of Pacific War in Indonesia in September 1945. When Terayama was nine, his mother moved to Kyūshū to work at an American military base, while he himself went to live with relatives in the city of Misawa, also in Aomori. At this same time, Terayama lived through the Aomori air raids that killed more than 30,000 people. Terayama entered Aomori Prefectural Aomori High School in 1951, and in 1954 went to prestigious Waseda University's Faculty of Education to study Japanese language and literature. However, he soon dropped out because he fell ill with nephrotic syndrome. He received his education through working in bars in Shinjuku. His oeuvre includes a number of essays claiming that more can be learned about life through boxing and horse 

Cijeli film Pastoral: To Die in the Country 

As far as I am concerned, Pastoral: To Die in the Country (1974) aka Pastoral Hide and Seek directed by Shūji Terayamav – a work that manages to bring together the masterful technical precision and craftsmanship of Akira Kurosawa and Stanley Kubrick and the salient surrealism of auteur filmmakers like Arrabal and Buñuel – is one of the greatest, most original, and downright creepiest Japanese films ever created. Not only is Pastoral: To Die in the Country a film of Japanese origin but it is also a complex cultural dichotomy of ancient rural life and the technocratic Westernization of the tiny Übermensch Northeastern Asian nation and an intimate personal history of the country as expressed so vividly yet abstractly by Shūji Terayamav. To say that each individual scene and segment of the film manages to illustrate critical issues that post-post-modern Japan is facing would be an one-sided understatement. Of course, being the refined artistic Renaissance man that he was, Terayamav brings up these issues in a most wonderfully carnal-carnivalesque and self-indulgent manner that would even bring a blush to Maestro Fellini’s tanned ½ Roman face in this brilliant film-within-a-film. Transcending all cinematic conventions, genres, and forms of storytelling, Pastoral: To Die in the Country is a work that revamps cinema in general and demands unwavering attention and commitment from the viewer. But more than anything, the film is Shūji Terayamav’s reflective post-pastoral quasi-tribute and personal-obituary to Japanese rural life and culture. Like fellow Japanese artist Yukio Mishima, Terayamav especially focused on his awkward and hopelessly petrified adolescent encounters with members of the extra-fairer-fairer Japanese sex. In the city, the confessing protagonist is merely a nameless and faceless ant in an intimidating ant metropolis, but his disheartening past life in the country lives on in his memory as if the tortured souls of formerly known ghosts have taken residence in his often tormented mind.

 In the world of Pastoral: To Die in the Country, mothers stare in joyous awe at their deceased fetuses, elder women rape young boys, bare-bottom beastesses/temptresses roam wild and the narrator contemplates killing his mother over 20 years after various traumas had taken place during his ominous adolescence. For the thoroughly perturbed protagonist, the past violently bleeds (both literally and figuratively) into the future. Whereas the rural world of Pastoral: To Die in the Country is a kaleidoscope of cut-throat colors and nefarious intrigue, the urban world is a culturally-retarded realm of restricting electronic-based banality where technology has seemingly trumped and triumphed over nature and has turned man into a mere insignificant cog in the machine.  Unsurprisingly, this post-industrial phenomenon has left a a somewhat appreciated hole in the soul of the protagonist. For most people, nostalgia is something to be cherished and retained, but for the protagonist of Pastoral: To Die in the Country, past memories are an agonizing and tormenting army of ghosts who have taken his mind hostage. Despite all the unwanted memories that have conquered his mind, the protagonist also seems to have a vague bit of fondness for a past that he has no option of forgetting. Most violently tattooed on his mind’s eye are the protagonist's various female encounters; the most penetrating being the unforgivable sins of his sadistic mother. As a child, the protagonist tells his mother, “Mommy, I want to get circumcised.” Of course, this young man would grow up to live in a spiritually and culturally circumcised post-World War II Japan, a time and place where the ancient code of the Samurai was disposed of in a manner as careless and unsentimental as outdated technology. The folk of the protagonist's rural hometown also suffer from mental and physical degeneration as they no longer have the spirit and organic health that enabled the humble peasants of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai (1954) to fight for the livelihood and preservation of their community. The world featured in Pastoral: To Die in the Country is certainly symbolic/symbiotic of German historian-philosopher Oswald Spengler’s quote, “It is the Late city that first defies the land, contradicts Nature in the lines of its silhouette, denies all Nature. It wants to be something different from and higher than Nature. These high-pitched gables, these Baroque cupolas, spires, and pinnacles, neither are, nor desire to be, related with anything in Nature. And then begins the gigantic megalopolis, the city-as-world, which suffers nothing beside itself and sets about annihilating the country picture.” 

Pastoral: To Die in the Country is a work that certainly demands a lifetime's worth of re-viewings as the man who created certainly assembled of lifetime-size collection of autobiographical mise-en-scènes that encompass the joys of madness, misery, and menacing mammary glands. The fact that Pastoral: To Die in the Country remains a somewhat obscure work in the Occident is nothing short of baffling. Predating the Japanese Cyberpunk explosion by around a decade, Pastoral: To Die in the Country is certainly a first-class film that has failed to get its due as a revolutionary artistic and cultural work of the most grand cinematic kind. If it were not for Pastoral: To Die in the Country – a splendidly freaky flick that acknowledges the miserable death of the country and the birth of the technocratic bureaucracy – it is doubtful that the inevitable birth of the Cyberpunk genre would have been so timely, potent, and necessary. In short, Pastoral: To Die in the Country makes Akira Kurosawa’s nostalgic Dreams (1990) seems like the innocent childlike recollections of a kindly old man suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.  I know if I ever live long enough to suffer the retarded delights of that mind-disintegrating old timer's disease, I will still be mentally cognizant enough to name Pastoral: To Die in the Country as my favorite film from the Land of the Rising Sun. - Soiled Cinema

Drugi Terayamini filmovi:

Terayama Shuji (1935-1983) na UbuWebu:

The Boxer (1977)

Cloud Cuckooland (1978)
Video Letter (with Shuntaro Tanikawa) 1982-83

Experimental Image World
(7 Volume Collection)
Volume 1
- The Emperor Tomato Ketchup (short black&white) - 1971, 28 minutes
- The Cage (Ori) - 1964, 11 minutes
- An Introduction to Cinema for Boys and Young Men (3 mins, Color, 16mm triple projection) - Left Screen

Volume 2
- Paper-Scissor-Rock War (1971)
- Roller* (1974)
- Butterfly Dress Pledge (1974)
- An Introduction to Cinema for Boys and Young Men II (1974)
*Notes for Roller: Dialogue in Japanese, no subtitles. In short.. the girls are insulting the audience, constantly saying things like "You pretend to watch art films, but we know you're here for tits & ass, fuck you" etc. (So in a real projection, one spectator (actor) becomes upset, throws things at screen, stands up... and enters the screen! That's why you suddenly see one guy appearing on stage, then stripped & violated by the girls.)

Volume 3
- Hoso-Tan (1975)
- Labyrinth Tale (1975)

Volume 4
- Der Prozess (1975)
- The Eraser (1977)
- An Introduction to Cinema for Boys and Young Men III (1974)

Volume 5
- Les Chants de Maldoror (1977)
- Issun Bosi O Kijutsu Sura Kokoromi(??) (1977)

Volume 6
- The Woman With Two Heads (1977)
- The reading machine (1977)
- An Introduction to Cinema for Boys and Young Men (3 mins, Color, 16mm triple projection) - right screen (1974)

Volume 7
The Emperor Tomato Ketchup (1974) (tinted 76 min)

Poet, playright, theatre director, filmmaker, essayist, agitator and lover of all things anarchistic, chaotic, and truthful, TERAYAMA SHUJI (1936-1983) is one of Japan's most revered and respected artists. In the heady and extremist Japanese art scene of the late '70s, Terayama created a number of unforgettable and highly controversial films. EMPEROR TOMATO KETCHUP is his 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." ÑAmos Vogel, Film as a Subversive Art

Notes on The Emperor Tomato Ketchup
[From TERAYAMA SHUJI AND THE EMPEROR TOMATO KETCHUP, The Children's Revolution of 1970 - Masters of Arts Thesis By Joshua McDermott]
The content of The Emperor Tomato Ketchup is intentionally graphic and disturbing, meant to exploit the purile fixation of man to the socially, aesthetically and ethically abhorrent. The scenes described and the photos included herein may verge on the edge of voyeuristic exploitation if examined with a socially conservative eye. This is not the intent of this author, nor of the original work, though aesthetic and social schema, which define works as pornographic and obscene have been purposefully co-opted, exploited, and subsequently rejected by this film.
The 1968 pistol execution of Bay Lop in Vietnam is by any measure a horrible and morally unconscionable act, tied irrevocably to a photograph which is intrinsically beautiful in composition. The Nazi camp guard who weeps to Schubert after a day of gassing Jews is no less a monster, and also no more than human. One of Terayama's intentions was to capture this duality of innocence and and destruction, brutality and beauty.
The Emperor Tomato Ketchup was originally edited to be 85 minutes, then re-edited and produced at 76 minutes in 1970, and later cut and split into a 28 minute version by the same name, and a 12 minute short entitled janken senso: Paper-Scissors-Rock War in 1971.
The 28 minute version is a condensation of high points from the original, with various patterns of German text splashing the screen a late addition for the German Television Bureau, who printed this version for European audiences.
Paper-Scissors-Rock War is a 12 minute film with one scene, where two generals fighting a never ending war of paper-scissors-rock. This scene stands alone as its one scene within the produced 76 minute version of The Ketchup. Terayama comments on this transformation in his introduction when the short version was shown at the Kanda International Film Festival: "This movie, was first about one and a half hours, but due to the force of public lack of interest, it has bit by bit been cut short, so that now it has become 28 minutes. Next year, it will probably become 5 minutes. So please watch it soon." (NO THANKS 5-6) Kawarabata Yasushi, a noted film critic, notes that "the fault in the short version of The Emperor Tomato Ketchup is that, not so far as Tabasco sauce, but a chili-sauce level taste it has becomeÉ the over sweet nasty flavor of Tomato Ketchup has faded." His complaint points to failure of form to support the content or philosophical basis of the conception. The film is not supposed to be easy to stomach; making it so by 'spicing it up' defeats the conceptual basis of the film's basic truth.
The short version was a created export, modified to fill the perceived needs of a European audience and the feedback of viewers in Japan, and does not fully represent Terayama's original vision. The 85 minute cut can be considered a rough cut, or pre-edited version not shown in a public forum. For these reasons, the focus of this study, and all references hence forth to the film, are of the 76 minute 1970 cut, which at the time of writing was available for purchase in VHS format from Image Forum in Tokyo.

Sho o suteyo machi e deyou (Shūji Terayama, 1971)

"I have a heart that whistles everywhere." - Mayakovsky
Jedno od najranijih Terayaminih ostvarenja, provokativnog naslova Sho o suteyo machi e deyou (Bacite knjige, izađite na ulice), moglo bi se predstaviti kao odgovor na pitanje: "Šta je zajedničko socijalnoj drami, sukobu (i sažimanju) Istoka i Zapada, udaranju falusolike bokserske vreće posred Tokija, hipi-pokretu i fudbalu?"
Priča o mladiću Kitamuri Eimeiu, početniku u lokalnom fudbalskom klubu, koji živi u disfunkcionalnoj porodici, sa senilnom bakom kleptomankom, ocem perverznjakom i sestrom koja je opsednuta svojim ljubimcem, belim zecom, i mrzi muškarce, je sve samo ne konvencionalna (što iz priloženog i nije tako teško zaključiti, zar ne?), a isprekidana je sporadičnim uplivima bizarnih događaja i krvničkim kidanjem granice između stvarnosti i fikcije, odnosno filma. Međutim, bez obzira na to nasilno razbijanje iluzije, naročito u trenucima kada vam se glavni lik (sjajni naturščik Hideaki Sasaki) obraća, ubeđujući vas da je on niko i ništa, nemoguće je ne uživati u neprestanim iznenađenjima koje Terayama priređuje.
  "The city is an open book, write on its infinite margins." - Terayama

Prepoznatljiv po nezaobilaznim filterima (zeleni/crveni/ljubičasti/roze), on pokazuje da je, i pre saradnje sa Tatsuom Suzukiem, bio i ostao stoprocentno svoj. Stare fotografije, čudne erotske scene, blagi nadrealistični "šokovi" i sporadično pojavljivanje članova njegove Tenjō Sajiki trupe još neka su od karakterističnih rediteljevih obeležja. Ni u jednom trenutku niste sigurni ko ili šta je sledeće - gotski odevena belkinja koja noću juri prugom, puštajući zmaja, muškarac sa polutkom preko ramena kao slučajni prolaznik, oglasi lične prirode ili lutanje grupe pacijenata u belim bade mantilima. Jedan od avant-garde higlightova je i razgovor koji nepoznati sagovornik (autor?) vodi sa striptizetom (ili prostitutkom?), čiji bih samo jedan delić izdvojio:
"What part do you wash first when you take a bath?
- I start by washing the bathtub."

Terayamina neodoljiva uvrnutost upotpunjena je alternativnim punk-rock soundtrackom (nekoliko godina pre pojave punka na zapadu!), koji su, pored nezaobilaznog J.A. Seazera komponovala još trojica J-rockera (i početnika u sedmoj umetnosti) - Ichirô Araki, Kuni Kawachi i Itsuro Shimoda. Pored vrlo liberalnih ideja i nezaboravnih slika, muzika igra ogromnu ulogu, pa tako treba očekivati i stihove poput:
"When I'm a whore,
I'll buy a huge bar of soap
to wash the boy I love..."
...u interpretaciji grupe od nekoliko starijih školarica-pionirki koje istovremeno izvode striptiz.

Ovaj film je neosporno vrhunska eksperimentalna drama, prožeta atipičnim smislom za humor i autobiografskim momentima, i sigurno jedna od najoriginalnijih, ne samo u okvirima japanske, već i svetske kinematografije. Svoju različitost beskompromisno ispoljava od prvih do poslednjih minuta tokom kojih kamera prelazi preko lica svih ljudi koji su učestvovali u njegovoj izradi.
"In this film, I dreamed of the human aeroplane."

Kaleidoscope: Selected Tanka of Shuji Terayama
translated by Kozue Uzawa and Amelia Fielden
A Review by Robert D. Wilson

Amelia Fielden and Kozue Uzawa, the 2007 recipients of the prestigious Donald Keene award, have made available in English a compilation of tanka penned by the late Japanese poet/playwright Shuji Terayama. Kaleidoscope introduces readers to one of Japan's great gendai poets:

while an ant
toiled from the dahlia
to the ash tray
I was forming
a beautiful lie
Shuji Terayama wrote tanka for several years, then abruptly stopped before he reached the age of thirty, concentrating instead on theater. In many ways the theater was an extension of the surreal world he'd painted with words like a Japanese Salvadore Dali. And like the English poet William Blake, he created his own mythology; a synthesis of truth, half truths, and a surreal imagination, tools used to transcend tradition and staid boundaries, to overcome personal sadness and inner rage, building short poems that broke rules, admired rules -- a yin yang of contradiction and unpredictability.
His life was shadowed by World War II, the American occupation, and the turmoil of a nation adopting western ways and a global economy. Terayama's father, a former policeman, died fighting for Japan in Indonesia when Terayama was 9. In 1945, he and his mother narrowly survived the American bombing of Aomori that slaughtered over 30,000 people. After the war, Terayama's mother left him in the care of relatives while she worked on an American military base in Kyushu. Writes Kaleidoscope's co-translator Kozue Uzawa, "His complex feelings of being abandoned by his mother, longing for his dead father and siblings he did not have, and longing to be freed from reality are expressed with extraordinary imagination." Uzawa later states, "You will go on to find many of his tanka are products of imagination when you understand his life." Great art and genius are often the products of a dysfunctional life and inner turmoil. Shuji Terayama's tanka are imaginative, interwoven with cultural memory and the emotions he expressed via surreal thought, recurring themes, and personal mythology. Terayama authored close to 200 literary works, and over 20 short and full length films prior to his death in 1983 from cirrhosis of the liver.
Not all his poems depended on imagination. He also speaks realistically of his life:
with a battered
summer hat
on my knees
my vagrant life grew
accustomed to buses

Terayama was rarely understood and not easily categorized, an avant-garde artist who viewed life from a perspective far removed from the conservative norm of his day. Purists criticized his tanka and accused him of plagiarizing parts of other people's poetry -- which he did, utilizing a technique the Japanese call honka-dori, that is similar to the practice by rap music writers of mixing (sampling) parts of famous songs and fusing them into their songs to form a multifaceted sound collage. In this case, Terayama borrowed a phrase or image from a well known poem to add to his own tanka, forming a poetic, textured collage. Take, for example, the following haiku by Kakio Tomizawa:

ippon no / macchi o sureba / umi wa kiri
striking a match / I see fog / upon the lake

Borrowing "striking a match" from Tomizawa's haiku, Terayama builds a complex, poignant tanka that transcends Tomizawa's shasei descriptiveness (realism):
macchi suru / tsuka no ma umi ni / kiri fukashi / mi sutsuru hodo no / sokoku wa ari ya

striking a match / momentarily / I see the foggy ocean ---/ is there a motherland / I can dedicate myself to?

Matsuo Bashô borrowed phrases from well known waka, Taoist literature, Tang Dynasty poetry. So did Shotetzu, Teika, and many others.
Who's to say what is real and what is fiction in Terayama's poetry. All of his tanka convey mood, reflecting in whole or part the man's emotions, complexity, and social memory. The human mind is complex and the most creative human beings are oftentimes misunderstood. Shuji Terayama was no exception.
In some poems, Terrayama portrays the experience of a third person, even though he may use a first person pronoun:

failing even
to become an actress
I listen to
the sound of seagulls
shot in the winter marsh
Birds shot by a gun are a recurring theme in Terayama's tanka. Of course he was no stranger to warfare, living through a war that took the life of his father and thousands of innocent people. In his mythology, it is possible that his references to birds served as a metaphor or code, for human beings, specifically his countrymen. Prior to the end of World War II, one was not at liberty to criticize the actions of the government:

with my cold gunshot
a sparrow on the roof
might be
my mother

having shot
a winter dove that
might be my god,
I go home
with smoking gun

for a small bird
to come back
after it's shot
there is a grassland
in my head
Perhaps Terayama felt imprisoned by the world surrounding him, and wanted to find something that would set his soul free:

a horse's mane
between pages
of the diary
he kept in prison
Breathing in unison is a form of deep meditation, a transference of emotion, a melding of minds. As far fetched as the following tanka appears, it is similar to the way the Miwok Indians in Northern California's High Sierra Mountains sometimes interacted with the prey they were hunting. Before a Miwok hunter would kill his prey, he'd ask the animal for permission to kill it and explain why. Terayama appears to have had an affection for animals, seeing them as equals, and not taking them for granted. Read this sensitive, poignant tanka, and decide for yourself:

I was breathing
in unison
with a pregnant cow
waiting for her turn
to be slaughtered
Shuji Terayama is eloquent in the way he puts together a tanka, the separations tight, the meter flowing, and the imagery vivid and symbiotic. He didn't like the taste of tobacco, yet like many of his era, smoked anyway. In the morning he'd light a cigarette, allowing the air drawn in to soothe his being, momentarily centering his psyche. In this tanka he uses beautiful imagery to articulate the experience:

when I smoke
a bitter bitter morning cigarette
the wings
of a seagull
skim my heart
A hard bound book, Kaleidoscope's design is second to none, with crisp graphics, surrealistic collage photos by Terayama, and an attractive dust jacket, setting a new standard for books of Japanese short-form poetry. Amelia Fielden and Kozue Uzawa are to be commended for translating and having the foresight to give to the English-speaking world this important new book of tanka by a great Japanese poet.

Kaleidoscope: Selected Tanka of Shuji Terayama
translated by Kozue Uzawa and Amelia Fielden
The Hokuseido Press © 2008

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