Clip Of The Day! GRASS LABYRINTH: An Oedipal Freakout

This is the story of a man searching for a nursery rhyme…

…so the narrator says. Thus begins Terayama’s The Grass Labyrinth (the second segment in Private Collections), a beautifully composed fever dream of Oedipal delight. As we follow Akira on his expedient journey from boy to man, the story becomes a stream of consciousness potpourri of sexual fetish, dancing fairies and fertility stones. Seriously. Even as you are watching it, scenes appear to be completely out of context – though it flows so well. At one point, Akira is battling a group of taunting demons (members of Terayama’s actual theatre troupe) and a little man with a watermelon head is running away while dozens of fertility stones (I wasn’t kidding) are rolling around. Take any set piece and you’ll see Terayama being effortlessly trippy and poetic. By the end of the film, I was nearly moved to tears but I cannot say exactly why. That, of course, is pure surrealism.

David Chien is a Severin super-friend and filmmaker based out of Southern California.

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