Anytime, anywhere | The Politics and Poetics of Landscape

At the end of the 1960s, when the student protests and civil unrest in Paris began to spread internationally, a wave of radical filmmaking followed suit, much of it aspiring to the confrontational ideal of “film as weapon”.

However, in Japan, a group of perhaps even more radical filmmakers were simultaneously prefiguring the shortcomings of that movement, both politically and artistically, and embarking on a project titled Ryakushô renzoku shasatsuma or A.K.A. Serial Killer – a film composed entirely of landscape shots that sought to express the alienation at the heart of the social and political system.

The film’s director, Masao Adachi, would go on to join the Japanese Red Army in the Lebanon where he applied his filmmaking ideas to the struggle for Palestinian liberation. He wouldn’t release a film again for nearly thirty years, but the influence of fukeiron (landscape theory) has rippled through the history of cinema, and especially documentary practices.

The films in this strand explore our physical environment as a site where myriad truths, fictions, histories, cultures and politics converge, and as a prism through which we experience the forces that separate us and bind us together.

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A.K.A. Serial Killer

A milestone in the history of political and experimental cinema, A.K.A. Serial Killer pioneers the cinematic theory of fûkeiron (the theory of landscape). Together with cultural theorist Matsuda Masao, scriptwriter Sasaki Mamoru and other collaborators, Adachi set out to trace the likely steps of a nineteen-year-old boy who carried out four, apparently motiveless, murders over a month-long period in 1968.

The result is an experimental documentary comprised purely of landscape shots, each of which shows scenery that he may or may not have seen during his upbringing and journey. Seeking an alternative to the sensationalism found in the media, Adachi’s sparse voice-over provides only the hard facts while the increasing number of billboards in the landscapes slowly reveal the hegemony of capitalism in contemporary Japan.

Supported by the BFI and BFI’s Film Audience Network as part of “Uprising: Spirit of ‘68”

Info

Event: Screening

Director: Adachi Masao

Year: 1969

Country: Japan

Date: Sunday 02 December

Time: 3.00pm

Running Time: 86

Location: Edwin Morgan Studio, Scottish Youth Theatre

Black Mother

Part film, part baptism, in Black Mother director Khalik Allah brings us on a spiritual exploration through Jamaica. Soaking up its bustling metropolises and tranquil countryside, Allah introduces us to a succession of vividly rendered souls who call this island home. Their candid testimonies create a polyphonic symphony, set against a visual prayer of indelible portraiture. Immersed into the sacred, the profane, and everything in-between, Black Mother channels rebellion and reverence into a deeply personal ode informed by Jamaica’s turbulent history but existing in the urgent present.

Presented in partnership with Africa in Motion Film Festival

Info

Event: Screening

Director: Khalik Allah

Year: 2018

Country: USA

Date: Sunday 02 December

Time: 12.45pm

Running Time: 75m

Location: Gold Room, Scottish Youth Theatre

Good Luck

Filmed on Super 16mm between a state-owned underground copper mine in post-war Serbia and an illegal gold mining collective in the tropical heat of Suriname, Good Luck is a non-fiction portrait of men brought together in the pursuit of capital. Neither a simple morality tale nor an indictment of the mining industry, Good Luck is a film that looks at the similarities between two radically different groups of men as they work in isolation on opposite sides of the globe, labouring in the long shadow of a 3,500 year-old extraction process.

Formed between dark and light, cold and heat, North and South, the film immerses its viewer in the precarious natural and social environments of two distinct labour groups so as to better understand the bonds that men share. In a time of global economic turmoil, here is the human foundation of capital, revealed.

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Event: Screening

Director: Ben Russell

Year: 2017

Country: France, Germany

Date: Saturday 01 December

Time: 12.00pm

Running Time: 143

Location: Gold Room, Scottish Youth Theatre

Meteors

At night, in a Kurdish town in eastern Turkey, meteors start to fall. Stepping out of their homes to look, the city’s inhabitants encounter fragments of the past and remember those who have been lost. In this environment, the tracing of absences becomes both an imaginative and a political act; the impact of the violence which has scarred the area has been erased from official records, leaving memories and stories to fill the gaps.

Focusing on the troubled history of this conflict-stricken area, Meteors deftly interweaves its cosmological framework with astute political commentary, exploring the ethics of how we remember the stories, places and voices which have disappeared.

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Event: Screening

Director: Gürcan Keltek

Year: 2017

Country: Netherlands, Turkey

Date: Friday 30 November

Time: 8.00pm

Running Time: 84

Location: Gold Room, Scottish Youth Theatre

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

Anabasis – The name given to wandering, circuitous homeward journeys.

Developed in collaboration with legendary filmmaker Adachi Masao, The Anabasis… re-purposes Adachi’s theory of fûkeiron to explore the history of the Japanese Red Army, their exile in Beirut and ultimately their forced return to Japan.

Shot in glorious Super 8mm, Baudelaire traces the disjointed stories and entangled recollections of Fusako Shinegobu, leader and founder of the JRA; her daughter, May; and Adachi Masao, filmmaker-turned-revolutionary fighter. Panoramas of Tokyo and Beirut merge with archival footage, TV clips and film excerpts to create a beautiful and poignant exploration of the slippages between history, memory, politics and cinema.

Info

Event: Screening

Director: Eric Baudelaire

Year: 2011

Country: Japan, Lebanon

Date: Sunday 02 December

Time: 5.30pm

Running Time: 66m

Location: Edwin Morgan Studio, Scottish Youth Theatre

The Sun Quartet

How do forty-three students vanish into thin air? Produced by an anonymous Mexican collective, The Sun Quartet is an experimental, at times psychedelic protest-poem addressing the legacy of the 2014 disappearance of forty-three students in Iguala, Guerrero. Across four visually striking and emotionally potent short films, the collective radically depart from the grammar of mainstream film and television, which, along with the obfuscation of the state, police and military continues to fail victims of violent crime in Mexico. The Sun Quartet finds them instead reaching towards a more authentic language capable of articulating the trauma at the heart of the national psyche.

The whereabouts of the disappeared students remain unknown, and their status as ‘disappeared’ persists to this day.

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Event: Screening

Director: Colectivo Los ingrávidos

Year: 2017

Country: Mexico

Date: Sunday 02 December

Time: 7.45pm

Running Time: 62

Location: Edwin Morgan Studio, Scottish Youth Theatre

The Territorial Sea

The Territorial Sea is a programme of recent artist moving image work featuring stories of struggle from sovereign waters. Works by Taus Makhacheva, Forensic Oceanography, and Francisco Rodríguez document tragic maritime passages, variously pointing to the cultures of spectacle, neglect, and cruelty which permit ongoing catastrophe. Mapping the geopolitics of water through re-enactment, surveillance analysis, and oral history, these short films build a portrait of the sea: parts deadly and sublime. Twelve nautical miles from the baseline of a coastal state, the territorial sea is a drifting stage for violent border policy and humanitarian crises.

The Territorial Sea is curated by Marcus Jack, director of Transit Arts, with thanks to Le Fresnoy, Tourcoing; narrative projects, London; and Forensic Architecture.

Info

Event: Screening

Director: Taus Makhacheva / Forensic Oceanography / Francisco Rodríguez

Year: 2014 / 2017 / 2018

Date: Saturday 01 December

Time: 3.15pm

Running Time: 62m

Location: Gold Room, Scottish Youth Theatre