The Anabasis of May and Fusako Shigenobu, Masao Adachi, and 27 Years without Images.
In a society saturated by images, Eric Baudelaire is interested in political events that have not found their representation.
For the film The Anabasis of May and Fusako Shigenobu, Masao Adachi and 27 Years without Images, Baudelaire conducted research on 1970s Japanese cinema and more specifically on Wakamatsu and Masao Adachi’s filmography. In 1971, as the two legendary filmmakers of Japanese Nouvelle Vague were on their way home from a presentation at the Cannes festival, they stopped in Beirut, where their thinking concerning the image took the form of political activism. They made a documentary on the Palestinian struggle. Three years later, Masao Adachi became the writer for the Japanese Red Army Faction, which was linked to the PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine).
In this film, the 30 year-long journey of the Japanese Red Army is told by two of its protagonists. As the daughter of the founder of the group, May Shigenobu was a close witness. She was born in hiding in Lebanon and only experienced being in Japan from the age of 27, after the arrest of her mother. Adachi was the theorist of fûkeiron, themovement of filmmakers who shot landscape in order to reveal the omnipresent structures of power. There are no images of his 27 years of voluntary exile since what he filmed in Lebanon was destroyed during the war on three occasions. Therefore The Anabasis of May and Fusako Shigenobu, Masao Adachi and 27 Years without Images is structured through speech, witness accounts and memory (or false memories). The stories are intertwined and reveal complex rapports between militancy, terrorism and cinema.
Thus one wonders whether, once Adachi sided with the armed struggle, he might have continued to think like a director, planning the airplane highjacking or hostage-taking as scripts where actors would be the militants and where television cameras replaced those of the filmmaker.
More broadly, this film considers the role of art and the powerlessness that could lead to the shift from an artistic practice to armed struggle. It follows the shift from a cinematographic image to that of propaganda, and armed propaganda, before concentrating on the reconstruction of missing images.