Director Shuji Terayama uses the pretext of a young man’s determination to recover the lyrics and music to a song he loved in his childhood in an exploration of widely variant perceptions of reality. Akira (Takeshi Wakamatsu) is haunted by a “bouncing ball” song that he remembers his mother singing when he was a small child, and now on the verge of a sexually active adulthood, he wants to find the origins of the song. The young man ostensibly wanders into a time-warp in which aspects from his childhood and adulthood mix together. In this never-never land he comes across a beautiful woman/witch who is lost inside the labyrinth of her mansion, just as the young man is lost in the labyrinth of time — and on some levels, perhaps the labyrinth of his subconscious. Foreboding scenes come and go like a part of a chilling nightmare or hallucination and cannot be followed logically. Originally released in 1979 as one of three “featurettes” in the French omnibus film Collections Privées, Kusa Meikyu was re-released in Japan after the death of Shuji Terayama in 1983, to much fanfare and publicity. Many critics consider this his best film, and some feel it is emblematic of the essence of Japanese cinema. —Eleanor Mannikka
Shūji Terayama (December 10, 1935—May 4, 1983) was an avant-garde Japanese poet, dramatist, writer, film director, and photographer. According to many critics and supporters, he was one of the most productive and provocative creative artists to come out of Japan. He was born December 10, 1935, the only son of Hachiro and Hatsu Terayama in Hirosaki city in the northern Japanese prefecture of Aomori. His father died at the end of Pacific War in Indonesia in September 1945. At the age of nine, his mother moved to Kyūshū to work at an American military base while he himself went to live with relatives in the city of Misawa, also in Aomori. At this same time, Terayama lived through the Aomori air raids that killed more than 30,000 people.
Terayama entered Aomori Prefectural Aomori High School in 1951, and in 1954 went to prestigious Waseda University’s Faculty of Education to study Japanese language and literature. However, he soon dropped out because he fell ill with nephrotic syndrome… read more
Labyrinth in the Field, is the more precise English title. Grass Labyrinth sounds cheap, and this phantasm glory dream hip grinder is everything but cheap. It's whorish, dominant, and fertile, yet it hustles with fortune. 50 minutes of pure cinemagician gold. Shuji, thank you for the seeds, the storm is approaching.