Terayama Shuji 1935-1983
The Lemmings (1983)
There is a version of this from 1983 that is 169 minutes long entitled レミングー壁抜け男ー (Lemmings: The Man Through the Wall). It's not a memorial performance either. Actually, the play was performed as only 壁抜け男 in 1982, but the DVD released in 1983 has both names combined. The original version, simply called レミング (Lemmings), is from 1979 and is 106 minutes. I watched the 1979 version.

The title partly comes from the myth that lemmings commit mass suicide. Terayama said, "Historically speaking, it's similar to a group of people called ええじゃないか (ee ja nai ka). These people would celebrate and dance in the streets one year before natural disasters." For the other title, the wall is crucial to the story. The play tells the story of two people who become lost after the disappearance of their wall in their apartment. When this happens, the boundary between the real world and the unreal world disappears.

A woman acts in front of a camera with no film in it. As the play progresses, the characters suddenly stop the scene and talk to the film director as if they are all acting within a film. She wanders into a psychiatric hospital where a mental patient pretends to be a psychiatrist. Prisoners try to escape through a door painted on a wall. A man's mother lives underneath a tatami mat and grows vegetables down there. The two original people in the apartment somehow were forced to become a part of the film without really any clue of what's going on, it seems. Someone's a spy or maybe they're filming something about spies.

This reminds me of some of the works by David Lynch such as Mulholland Drive or Inland Empire, but I think those two works are far easier to understand than this, although I've seen those countless times. A scene from another film that comes to mind is one from Requiem for a Dream. I won't spoil it in case you've never seen it. This play has an eerie and scary feel to it. There are also comedic moments though, just like in Lynch's works. -- 城十郎