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Koji Wakamatsu's epic docudrama explores the political unrest of 1960s Japan, when mass student uprisings coincided with the beginnings of the far-left United Red Army group, which tortured and murdered its "deviant" members during a 1972 training session. An uncompromising piece of filmmaking from one of Japan's most controversial filmmakers, with a score by American musician (and ex-Sonic Youth member) Jim O'Rourke.
Release Year: 2007 Running Time: 190 Color Type: Color Country: Japan Language: Japanese with English subtitles
In his epic film United Red Army, Japanese auteur Koji Wakamatsu brilliantly depicts the most troubling and infamous episode of the history of Japan's radical left-wing student movement. Interspersed with archival footage relating the origins of the political unrest of the 1960s, the film introduces the young men and women who will ultimately go on to become militant activists seeking to overthrow the established world order. As two of the most radical student groups come together to form the United Red Army (URA) and head into the mountains to conduct a training camp, ideology devolves into despotism, and the URA's leaders begin to arbitrarily persecute their own followers, a harrowing ordeal which culminates in violence and murder.
Weaving together elements of both documentary filmmaking and drama, United Red Army draws to a thrilling close when the remaining URA members break into a mountain lodge and hold a hostage captive - leading to an intense, climactic standoff with the police.
Official Selection: Berlin
"Progresses from breathless history lesson to grueling chamber piece to tense action thriller." - Dennis Lim, The New York Times
"One of the best films of the decade!" - Sight & Sound
"A monumental chronicle of Japan's ultra-left movement...Wakamatsu's masterpiece!" - Christopher Huber, Cinema Scope
"A must-see." - Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com