Masao Adachi 足立正生 | A.K.A. Serial Killer 略称・連続射殺魔 (1969)

In 1969, before Masao Adachi decided to become a full part of ‘United Red Army’ and moved to Beirut for twenty years, he made this film. It’s the story of a 19 year old man who becomes a serial killer after killing four men with the same gun. It is almost like a documentary, but you will not encounter an investigation of the case or an interview subject because the only thing that you see through the whole film is a landscape. This film follows the path of Norio Nagayama, the killer, from where he grew up to everywhere he goes until he commits a crime. The narrative of the whole thing is like watching the news.

What we see is just a plain landscape: a railway, tiny apartments, a road, a field of flowers, the waves made by a ferry boat, a dirty room, a barn, or a workplace. Everything is glimpsed along with the deadpan voice of the narrator, reading things with no dramatic feeling; everything is left plain and dead, flashing without any kind of drama.

This film has its own history because it was the origin of ‘Landscape Theory’ (fûkeiron), which claims the landscape as being an expansion of the state power. In this film, we see the landscape of poverty. It shows us the eye of the murderer and what he saw when he was young, the picture of struggle and poverty. The homogeneous landscapes of each town (we actually don’t know which town is which in each scene) gives us only one picture of poverty.

Furthermore, this film was radical in its form because at that time the left-wing in Japan were making a very dramatic documentary (the same as state propaganda) so the absence of feeling in this film was like a critique of both sides.

Featuring the free jazz soundtrack by Masahiko Togashi (富樫雅彦) and Mototeru Takagi (高木元輝) .

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