Tuesday, January 31, 2017 at 7:30pm
Masao Adachi's Female Student Guerrilla
155 Freeman Street, Brooklyn
Introduced by Go Hirasawa
Female Student Guerrilla, Masao Adachi, 1969, digital projection, 72 mins
In the mid-1960s, Masao Adachi joined Wakamatsu Productions, the company headed by radical pornographer Koji Wakamatsu, then notorious in Japan for cranking out numerous soft-core “pink films” that used the low-budget sexploitation genre as a vehicle for leftwing revolutionary propaganda. As Wakamatsu’s screenwriter, Adachi penned some of the outfit’s most scandalous titles, including the S&M-themed The Embryo That Hunts (Taiji Ga Mitsuryo-suru Toki, 1966), Sex Jack (Seizuko, 1970), inspired by the Red Army Faction's 1970 plane hijacking, and Violated Angels (Okasareta Hakui, 1967), an improvised drama based on American spree killer Richard Speck’s torture and murder of eight student nurses in 1966. During this same period, Adachi also self-produced his experimental Galaxy (Gingakei, 1967), which would become one of the key underground movies of its moment, and co-wrote screenplays with Nagisa Oshima, including Diary of a Shinjuku Thief (1969).
In 1971, returning from the Cannes Film Festival, Adachi and Wakamatsu visited Beirut, where they shot their collaboration The Red Army/PFLP: Declaration of World War (Sekigun PFLP - Sekai Senso Sengen, 1971), made with Palestinian refugees and freedom fighters. Adachi would return to the city a few years later and go underground with the Japanese Red Army, essentially disappearing from public view until his arrest by Lebanese authorities in 1997 and subsequent extradition to Japan in 2001.
Tonight, film historian Go Hirasawa presents a rare screening of Adachi’s feature Female Student Guerrilla, a work whose insurrectionary outlook includes a healthy dose of satirical self-critique, advancing a ribald, oddball model for militant cinema.
“Female Student Guerrilla is Masao Adachi’s fifth pink film directed for Wakamatsu Productions. The post-1968 direction of the student protest movement is depicted in this story about five high schoolers who take up arms and embark on a guerrilla-style revolution in the mountains in protest against their school’s graduation ceremony. The movie's portrait of a psychotic soldier prefigures the following year’s coup attempt, led by writer Yukio Mishima, at a Tokyo Self-Defence Forces base, and its examination of inner-group frictions (uchi-geba) foreshadows the Asama Sanso Incident of 1972, where conflicts culminated in a shoot-out between police and student activists. In order to limit costs, this production was shot sharing the staff, cast, and location of another film, Violated Virgin (Shojo geba geba, 1969), directed by Koji Wakamatsu and written by Atsushi Yamatoya. Intricately fusing the subjects of sex and politics, Female Student Guerrilla is Adachi’s masterpiece.” - GH
Go Hirasawa is a researcher at Meiji-Gakuin University working on experimental films and avant-garde art movements in 1960s and '70s Japan. His publications include Godard (Tokyo, 2002), Fassbinder (Tokyo, 2005), Cultural Theories: 1968 (Tokyo, 2010), Koji Wakamatsu: Cinéaste de la Révolte (Paris, 2010), and Masao Adachi: Le bus de la révolution passera bientot près de chez toi (Paris, 2012). He has organized many film exhibitions, including Masao Adachi (Cinémathèque Française, 2010; Harvard Film Archive, 2013; and Rotterdam International Film Festival, 2016), Koji Wakamatsu (Cinémathèque Française, 2010), Nagisa Oshima (Seoul Art Cinema, 2010), Art Theater Guild and Japanese Underground Cinema, 1960–1986 (The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2012), and Throwing Shadows: Japanese Expanded Cinema in the Time of Pop (Tate Modern, 2016).
Presented with Collaborative Cataloging Japan.
Special thanks to the Masao Adachi Screening Committee, Asia Culture Center, and S.I.G.
Tickets - $8, available at door.
Please note: seating is limited. First-come, first-served. Box office opens at 7pm.