With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

ACF 233: Shinjuku Ecstasy series starts tonight at Japan Society

Photo ©1971 Art Theater Guild of Japan Co., Ltd./Jinrikihikosha

Throw Away Your Books, Let's Go into the Street
(Sho wo suteyo machi e deyo)
Written and directed by Shuji Terayama
Japan, 1971, 137 min

Just a quick reminder that Japan Society's Shinjuku Ecstasy: Independent Films From the Art Theatre Guild begins tonight at 7:30 with a screening Terayama's first feature-length film, an avant-guarde, underground exploration of an estranged youth, his strange family, and his strange relationships with others.

I watched a DVD screener and the image quality was probably not as good as that of the projected film will be. Frankly, as is often the case with this sort of fare, I found the film a bit dated and pretentious. Nonetheless, it's an important film historically, and a real time-capsule journey back to Japan's 60s counterculture. Also, I'm sure that there are things that would resonate with others who are familiar with Japan during that time period, things that I missed entirely. So I'm giving it a qualified recommendation.

I also strongly suggest checking out Steve Ridgely's article. [See the link at the end of this post.] Having read it after watching the film, I'm strongly inclined to go back and watch it again.

Art Theater Guild
Founded in 1961 as a distributor of European art films in Japan, the Art Theater Guild (ATG) began co-producing independent films in 1967, and quickly established itself as the leading platform for highly experimental and innovative film. This 12-film series curated by Roland Domenig and Go Hirasawa focuses on the first decade of ATG and on the Shinjuku Bunka, ATG's flagship theater, which formed a unique intersection of filmmakers and artists of all kinds in Shinjuku, the center of Japan’s vibrant counterculture.

Tonight's screening will be introduced by and there will be a Q&A with series curator Mr. Domenig.

Get further info, order tickets, view the trailer, and access a link to a PDF article by Steve Ridgely, by clicking here.

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