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

1 h 06 min, 2011

Who are May and Fusako Shigenobu? Fusako – leader of an extremist left-wing faction, the Japanese Red Army, involved in a number of terrorist operations – has been in hiding in Beirut for almost 30 years. May, her daughter, born in Lebanon, only discovered Japan at the age of twenty-seven, after her mother’s arrest in 2000. And Masao Adachi? A screenwriter and radical activist filmmaker, committed to armed struggle and the Palestinian cause, was also underground in Lebanon for several decades before being sent back to his native country. In his years as a film director, he had been one of the instigators of a ‘theory of landscape’ – fûkeiron: through filming landscapes, Adachi sought to reveal the structures of oppression that underpin and perpetuate the political system. Anabasis? The name given, since Xenophon, to wandering, circuitous homeward journeys.

It is this complicated, dark, and always suspenseful story that Éric Baudelaire – an artist renowned for using photography as a means of questioning the staging of reality – chose to bring forth using the documentary format. Filmed on Super 8 mm, and in the manner of fûkeiron, contemporary panoramas of Tokyo and Beirut are blended in with archival footage, TV clips and film excerpts as backdrop for May and Adachi’s voices and memories. They speak of everyday life, of being a little girl in hiding, of exile, politics and cinema, and their fascinating overlap. All of which adds up not so much to an enquiry as a fragmented anamnesis • Jean-Pierre Rehm, FIDMarseille catalogue
A film by 
Éric Baudelaire
Assistant directors
Éléonore Mahmoudian
Éric Baudelaire
Diego Eiguchi
Philippe Welsh
Éric Baudelaire
Laure Vermeersch
Graphic Design
Jean-Marie Courant
Poulet-Malassis Films・Éric Baudelaire
With support from
Centre d'art la synagogue de Delme
Villa Kujoyama
From Super 8 and archives
Stereo sound
English and Japanese with English/French subtitles
Cinema Guild (USA)
Festival dei Popoli
La Roche-sur-Yon International Film Festival
Entrevues Belfort Film Festival
Punto de Vista Navarra
DocLisboa, Special Jury Prize
Migrating Forms New York
San Francisco International Film Festival
Dokumentarfilmwoche Hamburg
Courtisane Festival
All That is Certain Vanishes Into Air, Naeem Mohaiemen, e-flux Journal, March 2015
A Japanese Director's Path to Revolution, Dennis Lim, The New York Times, February 2012
The Anabasis… Anna Gritz, Vdrome, July 2013
Anabasis of Terror: Trying (Not) to Understand, Pierre Zaoui, Centre d’art la synagogue de Delme, 2011
Vidéo et après ? Marcella Lista, Éric Baudelaire, Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2017
Anabases, Archive Books, 2014