Ryakushô renzoku shasatsuma (A.K.A Serial Killer), Masao Adachi, Japsn, 1969, 86’ Ov with Spanish subtitles, DCP.
Eric Baudelaire cites this work by Masao Adachi as a fundamental film and as direct inspiration in the preparation of his latest work, Also Known as Jihadi (2017). The connections are clear: from the very title (AKA Jihadi-AKA Serial Killer), to the politico-police investigation via the landscape theory. Japanese director Masao Adachi is one of the founding fathers of topographic cinema, and this is the film that defined his theory thereupon: departing from the theses of radical Marxism, he tries to demonstrate that the landscape that surrounds us, from its most picturesque and banal details to its constructions and forms, is just a pure reflection of dominant political power. Landscape can therefore form-deform a person. Landscape can therefore be guilty.
Adachi focuses on filming the places where Norio Nagayama, a 19 year-old youth sentenced to death for four murders in 1968, lived. The film scours the streets and districts where Nagayama lived, while a voice in off, that of Adachi himself, recounts fragments of the life of the condemned man, and a free jazz sound track brings the psychologico-disconcerting side to the narrative. The result is a postcard like film, with highly charged political content, since Adachi’s gaze and critical discourse are ruthless when it comes to the responsibility of Japanese landscape-nation-power.