Pastoral Hide and Seek (Den'En Ni Shisu)

Shuji Terayama's second feature - made with the actors of his famous experimental stage company TENJOSAJIKI - is the most remarkable Japanese film of the '70s. Its American Premiere screening at the 1976 Los Angeles FILMEX in March caused a series of shockwaves that resulted in subsequent screenings for Dusan Makavejev, Warren Beatty, Martin Scorsese, Paul Schrader and others equally astonished by what Terayama achieved with a budget equivalent to about two weeks of catering costs for a normal Hollywood production. An autobiographical work which has falsely been compared to Fellini, Pastoral Hide and Seek gained this response from London Times critic David Robinson:

“This is a surrealist revisit to childhood. A 15-year-old boy lives with his dreadful old mother in a crumbling house where the clock has broken and will not stop striking, even when they tie it up with a rope. The boy chats to his dead father with the help of a medium, nurtures a passion for the beautiful widow next door, gets himself spectacularly raped, and mingles with the people of a travelling circus. Halfway through the film he is visited by his own grownup self, the author and filmmaker, whom he rebukes for distorting the past. The exploration then resumes, modified in the light of their debate. ‘If we wish to free ourselves, wipe out the history of humanity inside us and the history of society outside us, we must begin by getting rid of our personal memories. But that is when our memory begins to play hide and seek with us....' This is Terayama's most immediately attractive and perhaps his best film. Alongside the rich comedy and truly surrealist vision (like the circus dwarf and strongman who compete for the erotic privilege of inflating the fat lady's rubber skin) there is a real and serious anxiety.”

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