Anthology Film Archives


November 21 – December 10

Much-celebrated in Japan to this day, but not nearly as well known in the West as he deserves, Shūji Terayama is an artist whose body of work can rightfully be said to rank with that of the giants of art and culture in the second half of the 20th century. A true iconoclast, Terayama delighted in making bold political gestures, dynamiting conservative social mores, and demolishing the boundaries between artistic and cultural forms. Though his accomplishments as a filmmaker alone would secure him a place of importance in the history of 20th century culture, Terayama was above all a radically multi-disciplinary artist, with his volcanic output encompassing work as a poet, photographer, playwright, essayist, and songwriter, not to mention as a commentator on boxing and horse racing! His astonishingly productive and multi-faceted achievement calls to mind that of Pier Paolo Pasolini or of Rainer Werner Fassbinder; like Fassbinder, his career is all the more inconceivable given his early death in 1983, at the age of 47.

Created over the course of only 20 years, Terayama’s work as a filmmaker comprises five theatrical features, as well as more than a dozen shorter pieces, and includes everything from relatively straightforward narratives, to phantasmagoric memory pieces, to expanded cinema works that incorporate multiple projectors and even audience participation.

Taking place at Anthology, the Segal Center, the Harvard Film Archive, and the George Eastman Museum, and showcasing the National Film Center, Tokyo’s brand-new restorations of Terayama’s short films (which will be making their world premiere during the tour), this retrospective represents the most comprehensive survey of Terayama’s work to occur in the U.S. in decades.

The retrospective has been co-curated by Go Hirasawa and Julian Ross, and is co-organized by Anthology Film Archives, the Harvard Film Archive, the George Eastman Museum, The Japan Foundation, and the National Film Center, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, with the generous support of Kinoshita Group. Support has also been provided by the Globus Family.

Special thanks to Kanako Shirasaki, Koji Nozaki & Sanae Tani (Japan Foundation); Akira Tochigi & Chizuru Usui (National Film Center, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo); Henrikku Morisaki; Go Hirasawa; Julian Ross; Steph Carter & Caitlyn Leon (National Film and Sound Archive of Australia); Thomas Dylan Eaton; the Globus Family; Haden Guest, Jeremy Rossen & Brittany Gravely (Harvard Film Archive); Emi Haraguchi (Toho); Frank Hentschker, Peter Eckersall & Brad Burgess (The Segal Center); Hiroshi Kono (Mar Creation); Jurij Meden (George Eastman Museum); Amber Noé; Naoki Shinozaki (Toei); and Alexander Zahlten.

On November 21 & 22, the programs of short films will be presented in person by Terayama’s colleague and collaborator Henrikku Morisaki, as well as by Chizuru Usui, Assistant Curator at the National Film Center, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo.

On Monday, November 20, the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center at The Graduate Center, CUNY (365 Fifth Avenue) will host a special event during which Henrikku Morisaki will present two films involving performative elements (LAURA and THE TRIAL), followed by a panel discussion on Terayama’s work. For more info visit:

In conjunction with the Terayama retrospective, The La MaMa Archive will be open on Friday December 1 from 5PM to 6PM. The La MaMa Experimental Theater was host to the US premieres of Terayama's LA MARIE VISION in 1970 and DIRECTIONS TO SERVANTS in 1980. Visitors may view production files, photos, and posters related to Terayama and his theater company. The Archive is located at 66 East 4th Street on the Mezzanine level (between Bowery and 2nd Avenue).

With the exception of THE WAR OF JAN-KEN PON, EMPEROR TOMATO KETCHUP, and GRASS LABYRINTH, all the films in these programs have been restored by the National Film Center, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo.


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