Tuesday, November 10, 2009

film: Emperor Tomato Ketchup


Japan emerged from the catastrophe of World War II as one of the most pragmatic and materialist societies in the world, and amidst this consensus Emperor Tomato Ketchuperupted deliriously, along with a string of acts of violent political contestation by leftist and nationalist factions - hijackings, bank robberies and an attempted coup d'├ętat-cumpublic suicide - that were upending Japan's post-War ideology of parliamentary democracy, domestic peace and economic expansion. The film depicts the anarchic scenario of children taking over, told through a series of burlesque theatrical tableaux and a collage of voiceover and found audio documents. The sheer sensationalism of the political exploits, much like the parody depicted in Terayama's film, brought politics close to a visceral form of popular dramatics - an analogy Terayama explored in the text 'Preface to a Theory of City Streets' (1976), in which he wrote: 'Theatres are neither buildings nor facilities. They are ideological "places" in which dramatic encounters are created. Any place can become a theatre, and any theatre is merely a part of the scenery of everyday life until a drama is created there.' Continue reading.

Terayama Shuji has immense cultural standing in Japan. He was an acclaimed poet, playwright, film-maker, essayist and photographer, whose transgrassive themes gained him notoriety. 

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