Exploded States: War, Politics, and National Identity | Chicago Reader

Exploded States: War, Politics, and National Identity

The nine films in Exploded States: War, Politics, and National Identity (120 min.) have a theatrical or performance element. In Tadasu Takamine's God Bless America (2002) a giant, ugly Claymation head sings that song, ending on a grotesque note of optimism by spouting flowers. Tatsu Aoki's 3725 (1981) parallels the playful blowing of soap bubbles in an apartment with playful filmmaking that includes a jazzy sound track and rapid pans and cuts. More abstract are Toshio Matsumoto's White Hole (1976), in which the viewer seems to fall into its painted images, and Keiichi Tanaami's Yoshikei (1979), in which the superimposition of dots and lines on human figures suggests a loss of individuality. The longest work, Shuji Terayama's Emperor Tomato Ketchup (1970), is a truly bizarre, sometimes raunchy fantasy about little boys with guns ruling over adults, locking one man in a wardrobe. It's a fascinating reflection of the radical politics of its time in Japan—a near anarchic assault on the existing order.

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