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Grass Labyrinth

Shūji Terayama, Shinji Sōmai
Kusa meikyū
Japan 1979 / 50’
Pastoral: To Die in the Country (aka Pastoral Hide and Seek) The Young People's Guide to Film

A surreal journey into the depths of the subconscious of a young boy who is trying to find the words to a song that his mother used to sing to him when he was a child. The title refers to a novel about ghosts by the famous Japanese writer Izumi Kyōka. Combining lyricism with eroticism, Grass Labyrinth was released in France in the Private Collection boxset alongside the works of Walerian Borowczyk and Just Jaeckin.

Nikodem Karolak

Shūji Terayama

(1935-1983), one of the most prominent avant-garde reformers of Japanese cinema and theater. He became an unrivaled intellectual, nonconformist and unyielding fanatic, as well as an artist who was deemed scandalous and subversive, an enfant terrible, who managed to revise his native tradition. Famous internationally primarily as the founder of the legendary alternative Tenjō Sajiki theater, he directed a series of films with strong autobiographical themes, including a counter-cultural manifesto based on the collage method Throw Away Your Books, Rally in the Streets, or Death in the Country, which critics compared and contrasted to Federico Fellini's  Eight and a Half, and near the end of his life to create his own version of Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude in Farewell to the Ark, where Macondo culture permeates Japanese myths and beliefs. As a total artist, Terayama not only mixed different genres and conventions, but combined the cinema with theater, destroying the "fourth wall" between the viewer and the artist.

Selected filmography

1971 Rzućmy książki, wyjdźmy na ulice! / Sho o suteyo machi e deyō / Throw Away Your Books, Rally in the Streets

1974 Wiejska ciuciubabka / Den'en ni shisu / Pastoral: To Die in the Country (aka Pastoral Hide and Seek)

1977 Bokser / Bokusā / Boxer

1981 Owoce namiętności / Shanhai Ijin Shōkan / Fruits of Passion

1984 Żegnaj, Arko! / Saraba hakobune / Farewell to the Ark

Cast & Crew

director Shūji Terayama, Shinji Sōmai
screenplay Shūji Terayama, Rio Kishida
cinematography Tatsuo Suzuki
editing Tomoyo Ōshima
music J.A. Seazer
cast Tatsuo Mikami, Takeshi Wakamatsu, Keiko Niitaka, Jūzō Itami, Miho Fukuya, Yasumi Nakasuji
producer Eiko Kujō, Pierre Braunberger, Yumi Govaasu
production Argos Films, Tōei
sales Les Films du Jeudi
language Japanese
colouration colour