Masao Adachi talks about Godard

足立正生 ゴダールを語る

Text: Akiko Inoue Photo: Masamasa Nishino

Jean-Luc Godard's ``Farewell, Words of Love'' is currently being shown at the newly opened Yokohama Cinemarin. Godard's new work has already caused a huge impact and a storm of praise around the world. There are countless angles and infinite interpretations when talking about Godard's work, which has continued to create works in response to the times for more than half a century since the 1960s. Yokohama Cinemarin's ``Godard Special'' screen simultaneously screens old works as well as new ones, creating a resonance between the ``now'' of the 1960s and the ``now'' of today. A ``Free Talk on Old and New Godard'' will also be held, and on the first day, Masao Adachi, a film director who has worked side by side with Godard through the ages, will be on stage. He gave a valuable talk, including anecdotes about the Nihon University Film Research Group and the VAN Film Institute, as well as a hilarious episode about meeting Godard in Cannes. This time, I would like to record the situation here as faithfully as possible.

By the way, the old movie that was shown before the talk was ``The Pavement of Women and Men'' (1962), in which Anna Karina played a prostitute in a short bob. Film editor Yuji Teraoka facilitated the event, focusing on the contemporaneity and synchronicity of director Adachi and Godard.

(Cooperation: Yokohama Cinemalin )

Director Masao Adachi (hereinafter referred to as Adachi): Good evening.

Yuji Teraoka (hereinafter referred to as Teraoka): Good evening. I'm pleased to meet you, today. The movie you just watched, ``The Pavement Where Women and Men Live,'' was directed by Godard and was released about half a century ago, but I'm sure many of you have seen it for the first time in a while.

Adachi: I also watched it today for the first time in about 40 years. Actually, I love the theme song of this work, and for some reason I end up crying when it plays. When I first saw this, I was still a student making movies, and the first thing I heard was ``dedicated to B-movies.'' Even back then, I knew that I would probably have to make do with a meager production budget, and the theme of this film is groping for one's soul. It was one of the representative movies that impressed me.

Teraoka: Is that so? This is a work that has been photographing Anna Karina, Godard's wife at the time. Ms. Adachi also made pink movies with Wakamatsu Koji Productions in the 1960s and 1970s, and I think capturing the actresses beautifully was one of the important themes. How did you see the shooting process?

Adachi: Pink movies have bet scenes and you have to do it all, but I was really in trouble because I couldn't make something like that. All of my senior directors went on to become independent professionals and married the actresses they fell in love with, but that didn't really happen to me. That's why people thought I was gay (lol)

The era of the Nouvelle Vague

Pavement with a woman and a man

From “The Pavement with Women and Men”

Teraoka: Going back a little bit, in 1959, when Godard made his first full-length film, ``Give Me Yourself,'' Mr. Adachi enrolled in the film department of the Nihon University College of Art, and was a member of the Film Research Group (hereinafter referred to as Nihon Daieiken). It's in (*) . I'm really curious about how Mr. Adachi received this first full-length novel at that time.

*Nihon University College of Art Film Research Group: Abbreviation: Nihon University Film Research Group. Established in 1957 by Katsumi Hirano, Hiroshi Kambara, and Hiroo Yasushi (Taniyama). In 1960, it was taken over by Shineiken.

Adachi: Later on, it was given the athletic name Nouvelle Vague, but I was influenced by the wonderful expressiveness of ``Make it Free'', which was shot with a handheld camera. At the time, I was trying to figure out how to create a story, how to tell a story, and how to use visual beauty as a language, but with ``Katari ni Shiyagare,'' I feel like I removed all of those things. I realized that Godard had a beauty in the way he took that approach, and I thought, ``I can't take my eyes off this.''

Teraoka: Did you ever talk about Godard with people who were enrolled in the film department and were aspiring to become films?

Adachi: I still call myself a surrealist (lol), but I studied surrealism, so what existed before that, in terms of theater, Stanislavsky, Beckett, etc. In the process of changing into something, we were trying to find not only language and stories, but also our own expressions. I started making avant-garde films because I was focused on the reality we were living in, and whether we could break through that stifling daily life. You could still call ``Do What You Want'' a normal movie, but it is a movie that Godard created in the context of his experience in criticizing films at Cahiers du Cinéma (*) . It seems that a very avant-garde style of trial and error was beginning to take place, in which conventional wisdom was once dismantled and the basis of the story could be created.

*Cahiers du Cinema: French film criticism magazine. The magazine's writers, such as Godard and François Truffaut, are also known to have inspired many of the Nouvelle Vague filmmakers.

Teraoka: In 1960, when ``Katte Nishiyagare'' was released in Japan by Shingaei, Mr. Adachi shot the first 8mm film ``Today Also Passed'' (10 minutes, black and white), which he shot in a film department class. It was also the year that I completed the project. Adachi-san also started making films at the same time as Godard's first feature film.

Adachi: There were works like that as well. It's a boring work where I try to commit suicide every day, but in the end I give up, eat properly, and sleep properly at night (lol).

VAN Film Institute - A love triangle between Yoko Ono, Kei Ichiyanagi, and Anthony Cox? !

Teraoka: On a different note, I actually have a little surprise for you today... Do you remember Hiroshi Kanbara, who was at Nichidai Eiken?

Adachi: Yes. He took the initiative to create Nichidai Eiken, and after graduating from university, the five of us lived together in Tokyo with him and others.

Teraoka: I'm going to deviate from Godard's topic for a moment, but Mr. Kanbara's son was at the venue today, and he tapped into my ear earlier to ask Mr. Adachi a question, so I'll pass the microphone around for a moment. I would like to see it!

Adachi: Will there be any big surprises like this?

Teraoka: Yes. That's surprising (lol)

Kentaro Kambara (hereinafter referred to as Kanbara): Nice to meet you. Actually, my father, Hiroshi Kambara, passed away two years ago, and at his wake, I first heard that my father was involved in the establishment of Nihon Daieiken, so I'm going to talk about it to my father's film friends. I've been wanting to ask you a question, and I thought today was the perfect opportunity to ask it. The VAN Film Institute (*) (VAN hereafter) was established in 1960, and it seems like a lot of people are involved in it. Could you tell us a little bit about the story from that time?

*VAN Film Institute: A place for film production based on communal living, founded by Adachi, Kanbara, Motoharu Jonouchi, Naoya Asanuma, and Keiji Kawashima. It is also known that postwar avant-garde artists such as Genpei Akasegawa, Takumi Kazekura, Natsuyuki Nakanishi, Takehisa Kosugi, Yasunao Tone, Takahiko Iimura, and Yoko Ono interacted here.

Adachi: There was the 1960 Security Struggle, and I was just involved in the struggle (lol).

Around that time, Shineiken * began producing works, and Mr. Kambara was the one taking the initiative. We made a film about the security struggles of the 1960s from the perspective of students, and at that time we had a discussion about the significance of making documentaries, and that led me to make films together with Mr. Kanbara and others. I did. I was more on the side of fighting with the police officers (lol).

At that time, everyone except me and one other person had graduated, so we decided to do something a little more serious, so we all rented a house belonging to a US military officer and lived there. But all we did was go for morning jogs and boxing, and Kunitachi was far away from the city center, so we all moved to Ogikubo after that. A lot of things started from there. The owner of the house, a carpenter, built an outhouse in his garden and lent it to us, saying he was old enough to live there. I built an editing room there and used it as a place to stay, and all kinds of monsters (I mean avant-garde artists) started coming in and out (lol).

*Shineiken: A successor organization to the Nihon University Film Research Group, which was taken over at the same time as VAN was established.

Teraoka: lol

Adachi: Mr. Kanbara was more like a producer, taking the overall initiative and making money to support us, rather than being the director himself. At VAN, Motoharu Jonouchi especially brought artists and poets to meet with me, so I had a very enriching study life. Another person, Naoya Asanuma, a relative of Inejiro Asanuma, who was the chairman of the Socialist Party and was stabbed to death, was the person who studied art the most. Although he could hardly drink, he made me meals, and when I said, ``I don't have money,'' he said, ``I can't help it,'' and went to my parents' house in Koenji and lent it to me.

Around that time, Yoko Ono came back from New York and started interacting with us, and her boyfriend from America, Anthony Cox, had just returned from meditating on the Ganges River for about three years. But at the time, Yoko Ono was dating Kei Ichiyanagi, so they ended up in a love triangle, and all three of them were kind of scarred... (lol)

Venue: lol

Adachi: I wonder what kind of fight it was, he was covered in scars like he had been scratched by a cat, so I said, ``What's wrong with you guys?'' and he said, ``I'm sorry, could you please take care of this Anthony Cox?'' '' So I picked it up at VAN (lol)

After that, with Mr. Kanbara's initiative, we decided to start a commercial company, and we produced a lot of good works, but the TV station and the commercial company were only paid after six months, so everyone had to work extremely hard until the money was received. (Laughs) In the end, we decided to go bankrupt and make a profit. With that as an opportunity, I also left VAN, and everyone went off on their own. That's why Mr. Kanbara was a dynamic figure behind Toshio Matsumoto and Shingo Noda. If you want to hear more about the bad news, let's leave it later (lol) Oh, Hiroshi also loved Godard.

Kanbara: Thank you.

Masao Adachi

``Crazy clowns'' and Shinjuku culture

Teraoka: Thank you for your valuable talk.

Let's go back to Godard. In 1962, Art Theater Shinjuku Bunka (ATG) was established, and I believe non-commercial film screenings were actively held in Shinjuku. Then, in 1967, ``The Mad Clown,'' which can be considered one of Godard's pinnacles, was released, but this was also the year in which Scorpio was created as a result of Mr. Adachi's provocation (lol). At that time, had you seen Godard in Shinjuku Bunka?

Adachi: Of course I was in and out. From around that time, he asked me about ATG's position in the film industry as a whole and its place in the cultural sphere of Shinjuku, and we started thinking about it together. That's why I watch ``Mad Clown'' and all that kind of stuff.

Teraoka: I'm curious to know what kind of impressions you had on ``Mad Clown'' from a contemporary perspective.

Adachi: I love this movie, too. At the end, in the scene where the boundary between the sea and the sky becomes invisible, what lies beyond that would be, in surrealist terms, the world in which Nadja lives, and the movie ends while you're watching it. This is exactly what Godard has always been pursuing, depicting things that don't exist or that can only happen in the criminal world, as if they were people in everyday life, and ``a pavement with a woman and a man.'' So, the social problem of prostitution was philosophically turned upside down, and I think this work is the culmination of Godard's circle of wisdom play. However, compared to ``The Pavement Where Women and Men Are'' in ``Mad Clown,'' there was less of a sense that my soul was being taken with me, so I felt more at ease watching it.

Teraoka: Does that mean that Mr. Adachi has become accustomed to "Godardian language"?

Adachi: That's right.

Teraoka: By the way, one of your works is ``Gushing Prayer/Fifteenth Prostitute'' (70). That film also takes a different approach than Godard's in approaching the theme of prostitution philosophically, and to put it simply, it's a story about a young person who doesn't want to experience pleasure.

Adachi: This is based on the true story of a person who committed suicide by jumping from the roof of Meiji University. In the suicide note left on the roof, he wrote, ``I'm so sorry about an autopsy. Is it possible for anyone to know what's inside me?'' The modern society and moral system that we cannot forgive, even if it is recognized in the "Godardian" language of intelligence, language, and philosophy, we have to wonder to what extent we can accept it, including our own desires, desires, and everything else. , it was something that was turned upside down so that young people could try it out. So, the question is, ``Can you understand what's inside me?''

Teraoka: That was a really moving movie. Then, in 1967, ``The Mad Clown,'' which I mentioned earlier, was released, and the following year, in 1968, Godard and Truffaut tried to cancel the Cannes Film Festival. Mr. Adachi, how was it received in Japan?

Godard looked strange when I met him at the exit of the Paris subway...

Adachi: Nagisa Oshima was exhibiting it at the Cannes Film Festival that same year. So when I encountered May in Paris, I hurried back to Japan and reported on it. As an extension of that, Truffaut and Godard raided the Cannes Film Festival and hijacked it, saying, ``Stop being a business-only film festival!'' and it gained a section field like the current Directors Fortnight. There was a trend.

*May Revolution: A popular anti-establishment movement centered on a general strike that broke out on May 10, 1968.

Teraoka: It was in 1971 that director Koji Wakamatsu's ``Sex Jack,'' for which Adachi-san wrote the screenplay, was invited to the Cannes Film Festival Directors' Fortnight.

Adachi: That's right. It was called Japanese Film Directors' Week, and they were screening a series of films by Nagisa Oshima, Yoshida Yoshishige, and Koji Wakamatsu, who were particularly popular, so I went to Cannes as well. Since the early 1970s, anti-war movements calling for ``peace in Vietnam'' have been rampant in the world, but somehow I felt that although they could win, it would be the Palestine Liberation Front that would not be able to win in the end. I was interested in it. That's why I went to Lebanon with Mr. Wakamatsu. However, about a year and a half before that, Godard had gone to film the Palestinian liberation struggle. However, there was no news about the screening of the film, so I asked Mr. Shibata of the French Film Company to let me meet Godard to find out what was going on.

Teraoka: Is that so? What kind of story did you talk about then? !

Adachi: We haven't talked about anything.

Teraoka: Eh...! Really?

Adachi: That's what's interesting (lol) We were waiting for a while at the subway exit of Saint-Michel, where we were meeting, and Godard came walking from the other side, looking around. When I asked Mr. Shibata, ``You look scared, what's going on?'', he replied, ``I'll explain in detail later.'' So, when I met Godard and said, ``I'm thinking of going to Palestine and making a film like this,'' he kept saying things like, ``That's great, but be careful,'' and was looking around a lot. So when I asked her, ``Are you not really interested?'' she said, ``I'm interested, but I'm dealing with a serious problem right now, and I can't stay here for very long,'' and I brushed off her attempts to hold me back. So he ran away. Later, I heard that there was some controversy over Godard's coverage of Palestine, but if anything, there was another reason, and Godard said, ``Next time, I'm going to make a work like this.'' He was good at getting money by telling the producers, but apparently he had accumulated enough money for three movies and was being chased by the producers. That's why we ended up standing and talking at the entrance of the subway (lol)

Masao Adachi

Teraoka: I see (lol)

Adachi: After that, I also went on business trips overseas for a while (*) , so I don't know much about it, but Godard's work on Palestine was used in a work called "Here & There: Here and There" four years later. That's right.

*Overseas business trip: Here I am talking about going to Lebanon and working on the Palestinian issue.

Teraoka: So, after attending the Cannes Film Festival, you went to Lebanon and before filming ``Red Army PFLP - Declaration of World War,'' you wanted to talk to Godard. But it wasn't particularly helpful... (lol)

Adachi: There was no reference, it was like they were holding back their pee and stepping on their feet, so that was more interesting. If I had a digital camera like I do now, I would have taken pictures.

New film ``Farewell, Words of Love'' is Godard's confessional film

Teraoka: I should have taken a picture (lol)

Earlier you saw ``The Pavement Where Women and Men Live,'' but before that, you also saw the 2D version of your new work ``Farewell, Words of Love (ADIEU AU LANGAGE).'' I would also like to hear your thoughts on that.

Adachi: Yes. Is “love” only in Japanese?

Teraoka: That's right.

Adachi: Before we get into that, let's go back to the topic for a moment. In ``The Pavement Where Women and Men Live,'' Nana, played by Anna Karina, talks to a philosopher at a coffee shop. He's a very important philosopher.

Teraoka: Bliss Baran.

Adachi: Anna Karina herself was actually a Swiss schoolgirl who really loved philosophy, so Godard apparently instructed her in that scene, ``Why don't you ask me what you've always wanted to hear?'' Godard takes this approach quite a bit. That's why that scene is such a strange scene where he hears things that have nothing to do with his role. Moreover, Godard, who hates Hollywood-style cutbacks, uses them, and in a sense, it's a scene that becomes a gag. A scene like that also appears in ``Farewell, Words of Love.''

Words, the soul, love, God, and all these things are attached to it. Most importantly, I think this is the movie in which Godard becomes the most radical anarchist. This was really interesting. So, what would happen if we really said goodbye to God, words, and love? Only nature and dogs are true, and humans are so hopeless that they can be thrown away. However, I was watching it wondering if it would turn it around a little more, but it stayed that way until the end. It's a film in which Godard has finally grown up after reaching the age of 80, and although he makes a series of intellectual gags, he confesses that they are meaningless. It would be better to call this a confessional movie (lol)

Teraoka: I see (lol) It's a confessional movie. I received a wonderful interpretation. Godard has made so many confessional films at the age of 85, but has there been any talk of Adachi-san's new film?

Adachi: Actually, I've just returned from a business trip overseas, and when I try to make a movie, the people who pay for it suddenly disappear at the final stage, so I've spent the last few years just preparing. I kept repeating that. I don't want to repeat that kind of thing again, so I'm thinking of making my own. I'm seriously preparing for this one right now.

Teraoka: Can you say anything more than that... (lol)? ?

Adachi: I wonder. To be honest, I'm afraid it will collapse again. The only thing I can say is that the title is ``Fasting Entertainer''. Kafka wrote this work 100 years ago, and the translation by Nori Ikeuchi of Iwanami Bunko is very good. Godard has grown up, but I haven't grown up yet, so I think the movie will be a little more messed up.

Teraoka: I’m looking forward to it!

After this, there was a question and answer session from the audience. I would like to conclude this article by writing down the most impressive words that Director Adachi said.

``I'm more than 10 years younger than Godard, but (even now) I feel that there are things that can only be talked about or explained through movies.As long as there are such things, I think that images and sounds... , I'm thinking of making movies that bring together the moments we all share together.''

We make the movies we want to make, the way we want to make them. I wonder how the words of a filmmaker who has thoroughly adhered to this concept resonated with the young people and movie fans who also aspire to become movies. In this day and age where there are so many options for how to watch movies, we want to remember that movies are images, sounds, and ``time shared by everyone.''

▶ Details of Yokohama Cinemarin “Godard Special”
Click here for screening information for “Farewell, Words of Love”
Click here for screening information of the old movie “The Pavement Where Women and Men Live”
Click here for screening information of “A few things I know about her” *Talk show by Mariko Yamauchi included
Click here for screening information for “Men and Women” *There will be a talk show with director Shinji Aoyama

What kind of movie theater is the newly opened Yokohama Cinemarin? -From the opening to the present-

Owner Atsuko Yahata

Owner Atsuko Yahata

The sad story of Yokohama Cinemalin, a long-established mini-theater in Isezaki-cho, Yokohama, ending its long history was short-lived when news of its new opening came in December of last year. The new owner, Atsuko Yawata, is a member of the Kinema Club, a movie club based in Yokohama that has been running for 10 years, with the goal of ``creating another movie theater in Yokohama.'' Meanwhile, when he learned of the news of the closure of the old Yokohama Cinemalin, he decided to take over and operate the theater, thinking, ``It's important not to lose the existing movie theater.''

Three months after opening, the New Yokohama Cinemarin has been attracting movie fans with its extensive programs and new equipment, and every day is busy collecting data and organizing new programs to attract more customers. Although she says with a wry smile that it is difficult to balance being a housewife and running a movie theater, she says that she tries to come up with ``projects that only a woman can do.'' Ms. Hachiman was impressed by the film ``Women of Feminism,'' which was recently screened and attracted audiences from all over Japan, at the Aichi International Women's Film Festival, and decided to direct this film, which had not originally been planned to be released in theaters. It seems that he made it happen with a love call to. She is said to be the only female owner in the city center, so keep an eye on her future plans. The museum also organizes programs in collaboration with Kyo Nishimura, formerly of Kichijoji Baus Theater. A new wind has begun to blow in Isezaki Town, which was once known as the movie street.

Yokohama Cinemalin

Yokohama Cinemalin
6-95 Chojamachi, Naka-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ycinemarine
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/cinemarine.yokohama

Related articles