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Shuji Terayama

Related: Japanese cinema - O


Shuji Terayama (December 10, 1935—May 4, 1983) was an avant-garde Japanese dramatist, writer, and director. He was one of the most productive and provocative creative artists from Japan. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terayama_Shuji [Jul 2006]

Fruits of Passion (1981) - Shuji Terayama

Color, 1981, 82m. / Directed by Shuji Terayama / Starring Klaus Kinski, Isabelle Illiers / Anchor Bay / WS (1.66:1) (16:9)

During the late '70s and early '80s, countless filmmakers scrambled to cash in on the controversial firestorm ignited by director Just Jaeckin's Story of O, a stylish and popular S&M epic based on the scandalous novel by "Pauline Réage." Hardcore and softcore imitations abounded, with one mediocre legitimate sequel, Story of O Part 2, rearing its head in 1984. A few years earlier, however, another sequel of sorts appeared with Fruits of Passion, based very loosely on Réage's follow up novel, Return to Roissy. This kinky, surreal film was produced by Anatole Dauman, the soul also responsible for Nagisa Oshima's blend of art house pretension and hardcore sex, In the Realm of the Senses. The combination is even more delirious here as the film chucks aside conventional narrative, instead contenting itself with any bizarre path the actors feel like following. Shortly following the events of the original story, the naive, beautiful and submissive O (Isabelle Illiers) accompanies her master and lover, Sir Stephen (Klaus Kinski), to 1920s Hong Kong where he enlists her to work in the House of Flowers, the most demanding brothel in town. The creepy Madame (played by cross-dressing actor Peter, also in Akira Kurosawa's Ran and the fifth Guinea Pig film) explains that refusing any client's demands will result in starvation, gang rape, or torture on a wheel. The despairing O submits to her fate and keeps a picture of Sir Stephen on her wall to sustain her through the ordeal. Meanwhile Sir Stephen makes deals with revolutionaries while dallying with local prostitutes and a scheming French blonde (Pauline at the Beach's Arielle Dombasle) who urges him to leave O for good. The other women at the House of Flowers include a failed actress who constantly hears a piano playing underwater and participates in amateur porn films. O fails to establish a connection with the other women but does her job, observed often from the street below by a young man hoping one day to hire her services. Naturally, it all ends quite bizarrely and tragically. --http://www.mondo-digital.com/storyofo.html [Oct 2004]

Emperor Tomato Ketchup

(Shuji Terayama, Japan, 1972) (F)
The use of children in (however simulated) sex acts with adults is always shocking; in this "scandalous" avant-garde film, magical women act as their initiatory, yet protectively maternal partners. 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, as seen here, literally combinable. --Film As a Subversive Art (1974) - Amos Vogel

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