Director, subject, cinematography, sound, editing: Kaneko Yū
Production : Belgrade 1999 Seisaku Iinkai
Distribution : Genshi-sya
Running Time: 80 min.
Release Date: November 27, 2010.
PIA: Comments: At the exit of 5/5 rooms: 95/100
A young activist / left-wing filmmaker decides to listen to, while not sharing them, the ideas and opinions of the Issuikai leaders, the new Japanese extra-parliamentary right. The director himself, going even further, then decides to follow him with a camera in his travels until the end of the millennium Belgrade where he met soldiers, generals and politicians of the Balkans right committed to recycle themselves in the new order. All with in the background, the topic barely touched but full of creative suggestions, suicide, which happened in 2006, the girlfriend of the director, activist and prominent member of Issuikai. It sounds like the plot of an improbable fiction but is actually the backbone of a “personal” documentary debut work of Kaneko Y ū (also critical / film writer). A documentary that mixes personal aspects with social and political elements and which lies in the Japanese trend of self-documentary in which some works of Naomi Kawase, Hara Kazuo and Matsue Tetsuaki (author of a book by its title “Serufu dokyumentarii”) the best-known works, but whose beginning we could indicate (every beginning is a fiction) in 1975 with no Nichibotsu Insho (Impressions of a Sunset) Suzuki Shiroyasu. For those who wish to deepen the “gender”, the ‘ Nada Hisashi analysis seems essential.
Returning to Belgrade in 1999 , èstato assembled and completed in 2009 when Kaneko perhaps decide, this is a supposition, of relying on the soteriological power cinematographic work to complete the elaboration of mourning as necessary so that the time can once again flow like life. The director fact resumes old tapes he had recorded from 1999 to 2001 when he became interested in the Issuikai and especially its leader, Mitsuhiro Kimura. Putting them together and adding in the most important parts of a document creates a voiceover / narration on the thinking and thirst for affirmation of the new right. For the avoidance of doubt, and although ‘the approach of the director, although very critical, is often too sweet to the Issuikai, it must be said that the image of the group that comes out is very depressing. On the whole, the number of members, 3000 in Japan, and participants in the various events. In a protest scene that we see in the film, it affects not so much the stale rhetoric of empty words ( “homeland”, “nation”) but just the small number of participants who say twenty would have already gone too far. By anti-American demonstrations continue then to Belgrade, where Kimura meets the “leaders” or the people who matter in the nationalist right place, politicians and generals who at the time of the movies (1999) even declared that the massacres and ethnic strerminio they were just a figment of propaganda and disinformation aimed. And ‘This is the part most politically intriguing where the camera follows closely the moves and desires of greatness Kimura, a privileged eye also to see how they are born and that feed certain right-handed alliances in the world. One should not think, however, to a purely political documentary, aloof but it’s more like an eye left floating in the waters of the new / old nationalism both Japanese and ex-Yugoslav period. Although many overs of the director are very critical, so that eventually define words and concepts such as “homeland and nation” fictions, the camera is like the inside of the processes that we show.
Therein lies the sense of unease that you try to view the images, you do not perceive that a clear distancing (image) by the person who presents and it is perhaps for this reason that the documentary was screened yes in independent theaters in Tokyo and Osaka, but it is also true that he has not found other outlets within the art-theater Japanese.
Paradoxically, in this his dirty their hands more than necessary, even today the (few) screenings are followed by a talk battle between members of Issuikai and intellectuals of the left, in his being disturbing especially the left then, lies one of the points the most interesting of the film. Another merit of the work is then the aforementioned structure of the film itself, its being self-documentar y proving that an intimate diary, if not to explain, at least to present the abyss and the reasons for the suicide of his beloved. Its presence / absence mild, almost diaphanous in the film, is’ the whirlpool from which “Belgrade 1999” arises. Significant in this regard are very few scenes where it appears, always beautiful and tight and almost absorbed into another dimension.
Difficult to rate and express opinions that are not floating in a job like this: a journal at the same time real and mental, where, as in the best cases of self-documentary, to be questioned is first and foremost the cinema itself and cinematographic work position in contemporaneiità, with the excess of meanings and possibilities that the “simple” act of filming brings.