Skip to content
Arnolfini - est 1961

Film exploring the political and personal epic of the Japanese Red Army.

The political and personal epic of the Japanese Red Army is recounted as an Anabasis, a journey that is both a wandering towards the unknown and a return towards home. From Tokyo to Beirut amid the post-1968 ideological fever, and from Beirut to Tokyo at the end of the Red Years, the thirty-year trajectory of a radical fringe of the revolutionary left is recounted by two of its protagonists. May Shigenobu, daughter of the founder of the small group, witnessed it closely. Born in secrecy in Lebanon, a clandestine life was all she knew until age 27. But a second life began with her mother’s arrest and her adaptation to a suddenly very public existence. Masao Adachi, the legendary Japanese experimental director, gave up cinema to take up arms with the Japanese Red Army and the Palestinian cause In 1974. For this theorist of the fûkeiron (a movement of filmmakers who filmed the landscape to reveal the ubiquitous structures of power) his 27 years of voluntary exile were without images, since those he filmed in Lebanon were destroyed on three separate occasions during the war.

It is therefore words, testimony, memory (and false memory) that structure The Anabasis of May and Fusako Shigenobu, Masao Adachi and 27 Years without Images. Two intersecting accounts, mixing personal stories, political history, revolutionary propaganda and film theory. Thirty years of self invention in which the recurring theme is the question of images: public images produced by the media in response to terrorist operations planned for the television era, and personal images that are lost or destroyed amid the chaos of the struggles. Adopting an experimental documentary format, the accounts of May Shigenobu and Masao Adachi overlay new fûkeiron images, filmed in Super 8 in the contemporary landscapes of Tokyo and Beirut.

Director: Eric Baudelaire
Country: France
Year: 2011
Duration: 66 mins