Emperor Tomato Ketchup

Director: Shūji Terayama
Year Released: 1970
Rating: 3.5

Terayama's depiction of a world run by children (how they managed to take over isn't clear), presented as avant-garde pastiche. The kids, armed with guns and paint, rape and assault women, physically abuse men and 'cross out' signs of the adult world's previously-held control over the country (it opens with the faces of several notable figures, including Mao and the Marquis de Sade). Unlike Throw Away Your Books and Rally in the Streets, Terayama's 1971 effort, this one is not consumed by didacticism and heavy-handedness: if anything, his wobbly hand-held camera work, extreme imagery (which includes rather graphic depictions of sexual contact between masked women and a young child) and tongue-in-cheek humor (two young adults, one of whom is dressed up in Nazi regalia, fight in a dirt pile) make it more playful than hostile. It is a revolutionary film in every sense and the likelihood of it getting revisited in art theaters in America is nil. [Note: This refers to the 75-minute version of the film; a 30-minute version of the film is also available.]