Fury and the Landscape Film: Three Men Who Left Their Will on Concrete

In the 1960s, Japanese artists and filmmakers directed their fury against the sterile urban landscapes which surrounded them. The “Theory of Landscape,” developed by Matsuda Masao as well as many other filmmakers, artists, and writers, posited that our lived landscape is an expression of dominant political power. This article uses the lens of Landscape Theory to analyze three Japanese political avant-garde films from the late 1960s and early 1970s, all of which mark frustration and anger through a reworking of the mundane urban environment that surrounds them: Wakamatsu Koji’s Go, Go Second Time Virgin (1969), Oshima Nagisa’s The Man Who Left His Will on Film (1970), and Terayama Shuji’s Throw Away Your Books, Rally in the Streets (1971). These three films, whose narratives are fundamentally integrated with the discourse of Landscape Theory, use forms of violence to create gaps and fissures within the coldly modernized Tokyo landscape. While the forms of violence they use might differ, Wakamatsu, Oshima, and Terayama’s films critique and interrupt their cityscape, rendering the violence inherent in its concrete walls and buildings explicit.

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