Wednesday, December 11, 2019 (7:30pm)
5213 Grays Ave. Rm. 228
Introduced by Julia Alekseyeva, Assistant Professor of English and Cinema & Media Studies, University of Pennsylvania. Curated by Go Hirasawa.
One of the most politically radical Japanese filmmakers of the 1960s, Masao Adachi’s early work straddled the line between sexploitation “pink films” and the leftist Japanese New Wave. Emerging out of the legendary VAN Film Science Research Center, which incubated some of the most avant-garde artists of the period, Adachi met and collaborated with many of Tokyo’s most notable experimental artists before beginning his career within the commercial industry.
In between collaborations with Nagisa Oshima and Kōji Wakamatsu at the latter’s production outfit, Adachi completed Galaxy completely independently. The film, which is considered the first feature-length experimental film to be produced in post-war Japan, is a sepia-toned dream instigated by a beachside car breakdown. In it, a young male driver wanders through a fantasy replete with violence, surreal apparitions, and grotesque illustrations. The vignettes which are by turns funny and terrifying proceed in a looping cycle and we end where we began, with a busted car. Notably, Adachi enlisted Fluxus musician Yasunao Tone to compose Galaxy’s jittering score.
The film was featured on the opening program at Tokyo’s Theatre Scorpio (named for Kenneth Anger’s Scorpio Rising), which became a center of underground film exhibition in the years to come. Later, Adachi would complete several leftist pink films and experimental documentaries before (like a mirror oposite of novelist Yukio Mishima) joining the Japanese Red Army in the Palestinian liberation movement of the 1970s, eventually settling in Lebanon.
Collaborative Cataloging Japan is dedicated to preserving the legacy of Japanese experimental moving image works produced from the 1950s through the 1980s including fine art on film and video, performance documentation, independent documentaries, & experimental animation and television.
Galaxy / Masao Adachi / 1967 / 75 min / Digital
Tickets: $8-10 at the door.
Accessibility: The venue is on the second floor and is not currently wheelchair accessible due to an out-of-order elevator.