December 2013, living archive

Public Screening on Dec 15: "Erosu + Gyakusatsu"

EROSU + GYAKUSATSU, 1969

This time, the public screening of a film from the Arsenal archive is being organized by the DFG graduate school “Visibility and Visual Production: Hybrid Forms of Iconic Knowledge.” In the rarely screened film EROSU + GYAKUSATSU (Eros + Massacre, Yoshishige Yoshida, Japan 1969), Japanese anarchism in the ’20s meets the student life of the late ’60s. The central focus is the love relationships of the anarchist Ōsugi Sakae, who was assassinated by the military, with three women, each of whom has a different claim over what Ōsugi stood for. This in turn also interests two students who have been influenced by Ōsugi’s ideas about life, for example looking into what the politics of free love is all about.

Critic Pascal Bonitzer remarked that the plus in the title EROSU + GYAKUSATSU already implies a logic of the loop, which is constantly undoing itself in the film. Director Yoshishige Yoshida added that the time of the film is imaginary, in which past, present and future interrogate one another. EROSU + GYAKUSATSU is thus meant to be a construction that constantly calls to be grasped as a construction.

EROSU + GYAKUSATSU plays this out using various means of address and estrangement. One of them is an extremely decentered use of Cinemascope. In the still images that one finds from the film, the wide image displays an insufficient or obligatory character. The framing overlooks something or doesn’t quite manage it yet. At the same time, everything is very through-composed – the peripheral as well as the leveling out seem neuralgic.

At the screening, Peter Müller along with Ines Schaber will open up a discussion about this deconstructing and reconstructing imagination of politicized times. How can we access it today? Peter Müller suggested the film due to his interest in aspect ratios. In his post-doctoral work he is examining standardizing social aspects of 16:9, including spatial constitutions and viewing arrangements, which EROSU + GYAKUSATSU also seeks to destabilize in its own way. (Peter Müller)