The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center in New York City presented Shūji Terayama’s Laura (Rora), Trial (Shinpan), and Americans, who are you? (America-jin Anata-wa) followed by a panel discussion livestreamed on the global, commons-based peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Monday 20 November 2017 at 6:30 p.m. EST (New York) / 5:30 p.m. CST (Chicago) / 3:30 p.m. PST (Los Angeles).
This evening will feature rare combination of performance and film screenings by legendary avantgarde Japanese poet, dramatist, writer, film director, and photographer Shūji Terayama. Many critics view him as one of the most productive and provocative creative artists to come out of Japan. He has been cited as an influence on various Japanese filmmakers from the 1970s onward.
One of the screenings, Laura, will include the restaging of Terayama’s 1974 film performance with the original actor, Henrikku Morisaki. The screenings are part of a retrospective tour of Shūji Terayama works at Anthology Film Archives (Nov. 21-Dec. 10) and Harvard Film Archive.
The Trial (Shinpan) [Japan 1975, 16mm, color, 34 min]
Directed by Shūji Terayama, no subtitles
With Keiko Niitaka, Yoko Ran, Sueshi Sasada
The Trial begins as a man hammers nails into a city street before normal social order collapses and the ‘disturbance’ spreads to an act of violent audience participation; Terayama made this work for projection on a specially constructed screen and provides blank film at the end as an invitation for audience members to abandon their position as spectators.
Laura (Rora) [Japan 1974, 16mm, color, 9 min]
Directed by Shūji Terayama, Japanese with English subtitles
Inspired by the unfulfilled affair between Laura and Alec in the 1945 British feature, Brief Encounter, Terayama’s outrageous screen fantasy features the onscreen appearances of painted strippers who hurl insults at the audience. One spectator/performer, actor Henrikku Morisaki, will enter the film and emerge clutching his torn clothes, after being stripped and assaulted on celluloid.
Americans, who are you? / America-jin Anata-wa [Japan 1967, Black and White, 45 min]
Directed by Haruhiko Hagimoto, Written by Shūji Terayama
Produced by Tokyo Broadcasting System Holdings, Inc.
A rare chance to see a documentary by Shuji Terayama –and one that was shot in the United States and made for Japanese television. In this portrait of mid-1960s USA, a Japanese woman confronts passersby on the street with a set of questions devised by Terayama, who once declared he’d like to become a question mark.
Followed by a discussion with Terayama collaborator Henrikku Morisaki, professors Julia Alekseyeva(CUNY Brooklyn), Peter Eckersall (GC, CUNY), Tom Looser (NYU), and Alex Zahlten (Havard University), and Chizuru Usui (National Film Center, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo).
The 2017 Terayama retrospective tour is presented in partnership with Harvard Film Archive, Anthology Film Archives, the George Eastman Museum, The Japan Foundation, and the National Film Center, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, with the generous support of the Kinoshita Group.
Special thanks: Theodore C. Bestor and Stacie Matsumoto—Reischauer Institute, Harvard; Haden Guest (Director), Jeremy Rossen, Brittany Gravely–Harvard Film Archive; Hisashi Okajima, Akira Tochigi and Chizuru Usui—National Film Center, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; Kanako Shirasaki, Koji Nozaki, Sanae Tani–the Japan Foundation; Jed Rapfogel—Anthology Film Archives; Julian Ross; Go Hirasawa.
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