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

Anabasis. Masao Adachi

The Anabasis of May and Fusako Shigenobu, Masao Adachi and 27 Years Without Images, Eric Baudelaire, France, 2011, 66’ OV in Spanish, DCP.

This is a triangular documentary essay: Fusako Shigenobu was leader of the Japanese red army, an extreme left wing group that espoused armed violence in the seventies. After carrying out several such acts in her territory, Fusako fled to Beirut, where she lived for three decades. May Shigenobu, her daughter, was born in Lebanon and only discovered Japan at the age of 27, (the “imageless” years to which the title refers) when her mother was arrested and taken back to her country of origin. And Masao Adachi is one of the key names of Japanese political and artistic culture, one of those youth who in the seventies veered from revolutionary idealism to radical action: on the one hand he stood out as assistant to directors of the calibre of Nagisa Oshima and Koji Wakamatsu, and later became a member of the red army, developing, from that standpoint, a career as a filmmaker compromised with radical political activism. Adachi is also one of the fathers of the landscape theory – Fukeiron – which attempts to reveal the structures of oppression of the political system through filming, observation and inspection of the natural landscape. With these elements, we already have the triangle that makes up this film. But there is one final element, which summarizes Eric Baudelaire’s attempt to observe-film-reveal the ultimate meaning (cinematographic and political) of all this: Anabasis is the word of Greek origin which, since the time of Xenophon, has been used to refer to the long, winding road back home, at the end of an expedition.             

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