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« Tout ce qui bouge sur un écran est du cinéma. » (Jean Renoir)


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Masao Adachi, aka. Serial Killer, 1968


1969, 86 Minutes, Color, 35 mm
Co-produced by Masao Adachi, Yu Yamazaki, Masaaki Nonomura,Susumu Iwabuchi, Masao Matsuda, and Mamoru Sasaki.
Music supervision by Hisato Aikura
Music performed by Masahiko Togashi and Mototeru Takagi
Narration by Masao Adachi




http://www.midnighteye.com/interviews/masao_adachi.shtml

A horrifying series of murders, committed by a teenaged killer in 1968, prompted a group of filmmakers to chart his path, capturing the things he might have seen before committing his crimes. Their result is this provocative, rarely-screened meditation on geography and society.


Ciné-activism in an Archipelagic World by Sabu Kohso

In 1969, Adachi, who had already made a number of important films, led a group of people, who were all in the vanguard of filmmaking in Japan, in making a film called “AKA. Serial Killer.” The camera eye mostly shows various landscapes across Japan, following the itinerary of a young informal worker, Norio Nagayama, who ended up committing a series of shootings in these places. Then a relatively known film director made a narrative film about Nagayama’s miserable upbringing and tried to make a statement about the social inequality that was supposed to have been responsible for his crime (The film is “Naked Nineteen -Hadaka no Jyuukyuu-sai-” directed by Kaneto Shindo, 1970). Meanwhile this group decided to pursue a totally different approach, which, precisely speaking, is neither a story film nor documentary. It is an attempt to see exactly what Nagayama saw along his itinerary looking for a better job, a better place, which never existed. The resulting film shows a series of terrains that have been transformed to the effect of losing genius loci or the singularities of place and became a series of postcard-like landscapes. This was the most straightforward critique of capital’s “real subsumption,” namely, the overall commodification of the everyday, which corresponds to the critique of “spectacle” by Guy Debord (The key word used in the debate provoked by the film was fukei in Japanese, which is commonly translated as “landscape.” As opposed to that, the music critic Yuzo Sakuramoto suggested to use “spectacle.”).

http://www.bordersphere.com/new/cine_text.htm


Starting with the narration: “In the fall of 1968, four murders took place in four cities. In all four, the same gun was used. In the spring of 1969, a 19 year old boy was arrested. He came to be called a “serial shooting killer (renzoku-shasatsu-ma)”.

This film continuously shows the landscape that the absent protagonist-killer Norio Nagayama must have seen, shooting only the trajectory of Nagayama’s drifts from the suburbs of Abashiri City, Hokkaido • downtown of Abashiri City • Itayanagi • Hirosaki • Aomori • Hakodate • Itayanagi • Yamagata • Fukushima • Itayanagi • Shibuya • Yokohama • Nagoya • Hong Kong • Yokohama • Oyama • Utsunomiya • Osaka • Moriguchi • Haneda • Kawasaki • Yokosuka • Kawasaki • Yodobashi • Higashinakano • Ikebukuro • Sugamo • Odawara • Atami • Nagoya • Osaka • Kobe • Yokohama • Nerima • Nishiogikubo • Higashinakano • Itayanagi • Tokyo • Nagano • Yokosuka • Ikebukuro • Shiba • Kyoto • Yokohama • Ikebukuro • Hakodate • Otaru • Sapporo • Hakodate • Nagoya • Yokohama • Shinjuku • Nakano • Yokohama • Harajuku.

As an alternative to the previous key term “situation (jokyo)” for approaching the status quo, the theory of a “landscape” (the landscape itself as the site of revelation) was developed beginning from this film. This idea provoked numerous discussions, involving photographers such as Takuma Nakahira.


Theory of Landscape, in the japanese underground cinema

As part of this process Adachi, Matsuda and Sasaki collectively produced A.K.A. Serial Killer (Ryakusho: Renzoku Shasatsuma, 1969), a film composed entirely of a series of shots of landscape that the 19-year-old serial killer Norio Nagayama may have seen and that put forth the 'theory of landscape,' in which landscape became a key word for understanding the changing situation.

Developed for the most part by Matsuda, Adachi and the photographer Nakahira, the theory of landscape opposed the homogenized landscape of post-Fordist space under high economic growth. A.K.A. Serial Killer certainly reflected the transformation after the 1967 Haneda struggle, from the increasingly intense street struggles and university struggles which were put down by force after mid-1969, to the turn to armed struggle and post-riot police confrontation urban guerilla warfare. Rather than describing the struggle itself, the film literally and materially took as its theme the structure of State power upholding the emperor system and capital in the featureless landscape of the everyday that needed to be destroyed.

The Man Who Left His Will on Film was shot literally as a landscape film and sparked an even more intense debate. The Communist League Red Army advocated the Tokyo War and Osaka War, or the militant plans of the urban guerilla struggle with the authorities in Tokyo and Osaka, as the preliminary stage of armed revolt. Forms of political agitation such as attacks on police stations and the military training camp at the Daibosatsu intended to stop Eisaku Sato's visit to the U.S. in November 1969, were suddenly suppressed. Mass arrests in June 1970 ensued, and the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty was automatically renewed.

Oshima did not describe the Tokyo War itself but attempted to create a new style of struggle by showing its aftermath in the postwar landscape. In 1971 The Man Who Left His Will on Film, Violated Angels (Okasareta Byakui, 1967) and Sex Jack (Seizoku, 1970) showed at the Cannes Directors' Week. On their way home Wakamatsu and Adachi stopped in Beirut to join the struggle with Fusako Shigenobu of the Red Army and the Palestinian People's Liberation Front. They filmed the everyday life of Arab guerillas and tested their theory of landscape in the revolutionary newsfilm, Red Army/PFLP: Declaration of World War (Sekigun PFLP Sekai Senso Sengen, 1971). Originally the film opened at the Shinjuku Bunka Theater but as the result of intense pressure was moved to the Keio Meigaza theater. The red bus mobile projection unit attempted to implement film praxis by touring the country with the film. If we trace the theoretical journey, this film turns from a theory of landscape to a theory of information-media. A close re-examination of the theory of landscape today can point to the radical aims of such a theory of landscape and help think about the theoretical differences and similarities to the question of the impossibility of representation in the films of Straub-Huillet and Maguerite Duras. The most scandalous film produced in the midst of this theoretical transformation was Koji Wakamatsu's Ecstasy of the Angels (1972).


Theory of Landscape (théorie du paysage)

Théorie élaborée par le scénariste et cinéaste Masao Adachi dans laquelle le paysage devient un élément narratif de l'oeuvre.

Adachi a tourné Aka. Serial Killer (1969) entièrement en caméra subjective ; il n'y a que des plans de paysages avec de la musique.


Masao Adachi, Tokyo, 2 aout 2010

Je suis parti d’un fait divers sur un garçon, qui n'avait pas 20 ans, et qui avait tué des gens avec un pistolet. La société moderne était en train de s'élaborer très rapidement. A la campagne, toutes les villes étaient des copies, construites en béton, les paysages se ressemblaient d'une région à l'autre. C'était un garçon sérieux : il travaillait bien, il ne voulait pas devenir yakusa. J'ai donc pensé qu’il en était arrivé à commettre ces crimes pour résister aux paysages qui l'encerclaient et l'écrasaient. Pour faire ce film, j'ai essayé de vivre dans le même espace-temps que lui et de montrer simplement ces paysages-là.

Ces paysages avaient été créés par le pouvoir et les structures économiques. Avec FPLP, j'ai voulu faire la suite de ce projet : le peuple qui habitait dans ces régions était discriminé et privé de son pays natal. Les Palestiniens essayaient de regagner un paysage contrôlé par le pouvoir.






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