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The Anabasis of May and Fusako Shigenobu, Masao Adachi, and 27 Years without Images

Eric Baudelaire

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Eric Baudelaire, The Anabasis of May and Fusako Shigenobu, Masao Adachi, and 27 Years without Images (still), 2011.

e-flux presents True Fake: Troubling the Real in Artists’ Films The Anabasis of May and Fusako Shigenobu, Masao Adachi, and 27 Years without Images
Eric Baudelaire
2011

65 Minutes

Date
April 6–19, 2021

Join us on e-flux Video & Film for an online screening of Eric Baudelaire’s The Anabasis of May and Fusako Shigenobu, Masao Adachi, and 27 Years without Images (2011), on view from Tuesday, April 6 through Monday, April 19, 2021.

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. One of them is May Shigenobu, daughter of the founder of the small group, who 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 May’s adaptation to a suddenly very public existence. The other is Masao Adachi, the legendary Japanese experimental director who 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 Japanese filmmakers who filmed the landscape to reveal 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 mix 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.

The Anabasis of May and Fusako Shigenobu, Masao Adachi, and 27 Years without Images is presented here as one of four films in Part Five | Faux Documentary and Complex Reality, the last of five programs in the online series True Fake: Troubling the Real in Artists’ Films programmed by Lukas Brasiskis for e-flux Video & Film.

True Fake: Troubling the Real in Artists’ Films runs from February 9 through April 19, 2021. The films in each part will screen for two weeks.

A repeat screening of all the films in the series from programs one through five will take place on Tuesday, April 20, 2021.

For more information, contact program [​at​] e-flux.com.

Category
Film, Image, War & Conflict
Subject
Documentary, Experimental Film, Historicity & Historiography, Media theory, Television
Return to Part Five | Faux Documentary and Complex Reality
Filmmaker

French-American artist Eric Baudelaire has developed an oeuvre primarily composed of film, photography, silkscreen prints, performance, publications, and installations. In his research-based practice, Baudelaire examines the relationship between images, past events, and their documentation. Interested in the role of the cinematographic image as an index marker, Baudelaire creates narratives in which recorded facts serve as a starting point for an exploration of the unknown. In examining the changes in human behavior through interrogating the political structures that govern global, national, and micro-communities, Baudelaire’s practice could be read through a bio-political perspective. Navigating the experience of urban living; the global, technical, and economic dependencies of war; movement and the contemporary paradigm of geographical proximity and distance, his works evoke a hauntingly provocative perspective on the current political climate.

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