The first contact with the monk was his fantasy photo gallery, the man of the dog God family, which was very poisonous and decadent, with a strong Showa wind and sadistic color. Recently, I watched grass maze and death in the countryside, which was very amazing. In particular, the implication contained in death in the countryside is very rich and profound.
The first impression of Si Shan’s works is that he is expressing trauma. The continuous emergence of torn and patched black-and-white photos is shocking. Placing them in the context of defeated Japan, it is easy to understand that the war destroyed families and individuals. In his films, there is often a war dead father and a mother who depends on his son. This is his real family situation. Due to the lack of the head of the family, his mother’s attachment to him reached a morbid level. Not only in childhood, but also in adulthood. Although he married against his mother’s orders, the marriage did not last long. After divorce, she lived with her mother until she died of illness. It can be said that Sishan wanted to get rid of his mother all his life, but he couldn’t get rid of it all his life. This secret and complex emotion has become an important theme of his creation. In fact, temple mountain is not a special case.
People interested in Japanese culture may realize that Japanese men have a group Oedipus complex. The long-term social division of labor between men and women makes men accumulate too much pressure outside, and they are as vulnerable as children at home. The woman who runs the family has been honed to be very strong and tenacious, and plays an important role in the family. Japanese women are especially long-lived. In a large family, old grandmothers often occupy a pivotal position. Boys rarely have the opportunity to get along with their father who goes out early and returns late. They are raised by their tough mother. When they grow up, they get a wife. More often, they find a woman to replace their mother and continue to live. Many men who like to soak in Japanese bars after work are less interested in young girls than their charming mother sang. In Japan, there is also a director who likes to interpret family stories. He is Ozu. Ozu never married all his life and lived with his mother. Soon after his mother died, he also died depressed.
Watching temple mountain movies reminds me of a man in a similar situation with him, Yukio Mishima. Mishima has both parents, but she was robbed by her aristocratic grandmother as soon as she was born because she was too delicate. Childhood has been accompanied by his grandmother entangled by illness, and he mocked that he was his old lover. When I returned to my parents’ home in my childhood, I was full of guilt and infatuation for my mother. In many works, he repeatedly mentioned these two important women in his life, and rarely mentioned his wife who later gave birth to children for him. On the other hand, the impact of Japan’s defeat on the three islands is as far-reaching as that of temple mountain. During World War II, three islands did not join the army because they failed to pass the physical examination, and Sishan was too young. They did not directly witness the tragedy of the war. But at home, we can feel the panic and despair of the defeated people. As the young generation who experienced defeat in the war, they personally saw the loss of state authority and the collapse of popular support, so they went to protect the old Japanese traditional culture. The three islands revived Bushido and expressed their ambition with death; Temple mountain spared no effort to collect the unique elements of Japanese folk customs, and use its avant-garde art form to revive them, or revive them through the dead.
At the beginning of death in the countryside, there is a group of old women in black walking. Their image is very similar to crows. Unlike the Chinese who taboo crows, crows were regarded as divine birds in ancient Japan. In this film, temple mountain defines them as the public, cruel and evil.
In the war, the Imperial Army, which once reposed the Japanese dream, became a lost dog and useless waste after the defeat. They appear in the film of temple mountain in a down and out image.
In the film, the bridge sections of the dog God circus use filters, showing a dreamy and decadent atmosphere. It reflects that after experiencing the fear of death, people just want to escape into the love of men and women in order to forget the cruel reality.
The mother refused to replace the stagnant clock, even tied it with hemp rope, and then a row of teenagers buried the clock side by side, symbolizing the end of an era. Although some people try to stop the wheel of the times, it is tantamount to a mantis. Struggle is useless, just as Japan’s defeat is the general trend.
Death in the countryside is about a man’s memories of his youth. This memory is unbearable and ashamed to speak, so he tampered with the memory, but he couldn’t help reflecting and exploring the truth. The film is full of the unique atmosphere of confusion and depression of adolescence. This can be understood as the personal experience of temple mountain and Japan’s memory of the war. After the February 26 mutiny, the military headquarters was above the government, and the atmosphere of Xiake spread within the military headquarters. It can be said that the war of aggression against China was stirred up by a group of hot headed Japanese indignant youth. They finally got bogged down in the huge battlefield of China, and it is impossible to turn back. At that time, Japan was like an adolescent, full of conquering desire, but thought too simple.
The young woman next door who seduced the boy was one in the later grass maze and was divided into two in death in the countryside. Young women began to appear as innocent and weak, but then they all hurt teenagers. The young woman who met and eloped had another love and refused the boy’s sincerity, while the young woman who lost her daughter stretched out her claws to the boy and madly took away his innocence. Such a plot can simply be regarded as temple mountain’s special preference for such abnormal love, but I personally think that young women are a metaphor for China.
The vigorous Japanese coveted the rich and fertile land of China, so they wanted to possess her. Unexpectedly, China was not so easy to possess. The Japanese fanatical dream was broken in China, and they paid a heavy price for it. The freak born to the unmarried pregnant woman in red is the Manchukuo born of Japan’s wishful thinking and China. Although Japan knows that this is an immoral behavior, it delusions that the baby can grow up and become a “Greater East Asian co prosperity circle”, but it finally lost Manchuria, just like the baby drifting away along the river. Later, the young woman in kimono changed into a modern dress. It was the dress young woman who took the boy’s virginity from the temple. This young woman can be regarded as the United States that dropped two atomic bombs on Japan. This devastating trauma belongs to defeat.
The elegant young woman played by 8000 Cao Xun and her communist lover both died. The implication here is more obvious. In the 1960s and 1970s, Japan’s left-wing student movement surged. Many young people believed in communism, but in the end, the student movement failed, causing many young Japanese to suffer a major blow and lose their ideals and beliefs. The young people in the film are hit hard by the martyrdom of young women and lovers, reflecting the new trauma of the young people of that generation.
Sitting opposite the adult hero and the 15-year-old himself is a reflection that we have to do. From the conversation between two colleagues smoking together after the film, we can know the author’s intention to shoot the film.
“If I don’t try my best to express it, it will remain in my heart forever.”
“If anyone doesn’t liberate himself from his memory, he can’t be a truly free man.”
Face up to the trauma, then you can stand up from the trauma. If you escape all your life, you can’t grow up all your life, whether for a person or a country.
At the end of the film, the grown-up hero and his mother sit opposite each other in the streets of Shinjuku. They eat silently as if they were at home. In 1974, in Shinjuku, there were many tall buildings and traffic, and passers-by were in a hurry. After many traumas, Japan has finally come out of adolescence and its economic rise is becoming more and more abundant. Besides himself, who else remembers what kind of cruel youth he had? Maybe the old mother remembers. Therefore, even if he is unwilling, he should be accompanied by his old mother. This is probably the complex mood of monk Terayama’s love and hate for Japanese traditional culture!