Special Series
Free, Shuji Terayama

Pastoral Hide-and-Seek


Directed by: Shūji Terayama
1974 / 102 minutes / Unclassified 18+

A radical destabilisation of memory and myth

Starting with a series of haiku poems about his childhood, Terayama takes us through his cathartic and epiphanic quest for self-discovery, as important highlights from the director’s youth, including the strained relationship with his mother and his teenage sexual desires, unfold before our eyes. A spellbinding journey that deeply intertwines the director’s memories and fantasy, the director’s second feature film, Pastoral Hide-and-Seek is a metaphorical and sensory experience where every shot and character is imbued with rich and symbolic meaning. As the young protagonist attempts to confront his past, he faces the haunting scrutiny of Fellinian superstitious villagers and mingles with the caricaturesque inhabitants of a pop-up circus. Throughout, we see the director slowly walking through his past and present darkest desires, gracefully interlacing his unrestrained imagination with sobering truths.

Audience warning: Contains strong themes, sexual references, violence and nudity.

Tuesday 2nd November

Cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic

National Film and Sound Archive, Canberra

Saturday 13th November

Palace James Street, Brisbane

Saturday 27th November

The Chauvel Cinema, Sydney

Saturday 4th December

ACMI, Melbourne

Screens in: Canberra, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne

Director: Shūji Terayama

Cast: Kaoru Yachigusa, Keiko Niitaka, Kan Mikami and Masahiro Saito

Genre: Special Series

Category: Free, Shuji Terayama

Language(s): Japanese with English subtitles

Format: 35mm colour

This film is part of JFF 2021’s Special Series which honours the prolific and multifaceted artistic career of Shūji Terayama (1935-1983). From the mid 1960s to the early 1970s, Angura (underground) theatre, which imported ‘freak show’ elements, twisted eroticsm and the reinstatement of folklore that had been excluded from modern theatre, reached its zenith in Japan as an anti-establishment movement.  Terayama founded the internationally acclaimed theatre troop ‘Tenjō Sajiki’, and was at the centre of this experimental scene. However, his creation was not limited to theatre, and as a filmmaker, poet and social and cultural commentator, he was a leading figure in the ‘expanded cinema’ being explored in post-WWII Japan.

This program presents a handful of the late auteur’s short and feature-length cinematic work showcasing his signature transgressive approach to filmmaking. From dismantling concepts of time, history and myth to visually audacious portrayals of sexual and political revolution–these films are at once unexpectedly beautiful and discomforting.