Friday, November 30, 2012
EMPEROR TOMATO KETCHUP (1971)
Having only previously seen the film PASTORAL from Japanese director Shuji Terayama and not really being a big fan I wasn't too sure what to expect from this earlier more controversial art film. I'm still not sure if I'm a fan of this director or not but I will give him credit for creating some truly cutting-edge cinema with few boundaries that I can't see being viewed anytime soon by the general public in any comfortable way.
The idea here is that children have revolted against their parents, killed them off and formed a new revolutionary society, at least that's what I took away from watching this in Japanese with no subtitles. Also a midget cuts a head off a chicken, a guy gets hung up on a cross like Jesus while a not-very sexy threesome of scarred-up folks goes on and similar to PASTORAL lots of women wear white face. Of course the most controversial aspect to this film is you get naked kids but with it's insane imagery including kids dragging old people through the streets I can't imagine anyone confusing this with porn of any sort unless artsy-type films with a deeper societal message really turn you on. Again I'm reminded of cult director Alejandro Jodorowsky and I think it's pretty interesting that on two different sides of the planet such mind-bending examples of transgressive cinema were being made at about the same time.
I viewed the 27-minute version of this and apparently there is an alternate 72-minute version that was released in 1996. There are also scenes edited into this from another Terayama 12-minute short film called PAPER-SCISSORS-ROCK WAR.