IT MAY BE THAT BEAUTY HAS STRENGTHENED OUR RESOLVE: MASAO ADACHI (Philippe Grandrieux, France). 74 minutes. Subtitled. Wednesday (November 7), 7 pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox.
TORONTO REEL ASIAN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL from Tuesday (November 6) to November 11 in Toronto; November 16 and 17 in Richmond Hill. Various venues. $10-$20. See Indie & Rep Film, page 108. reelasian.com. Rating: NNNN
Philippe Grandrieux's impressionistic, almost experimental profile of Japanese New Wave filmmaker Masao Adachi, who abandoned his writing and directing for a quarter of a century to join Japanese Red Army radicals in Lebanon, is presented by Reel Asian and TIFF as a free screening. (Adachi's now back in Japan and working in film again, most recently writing the 2010 military allegory Caterpillar for his old friend Kôji Wakamatsu.)
Grandrieux lets him tell his story on his own terms, which means following the 73-year-old man around with a camera while he speaks. There's little of the archival footage or contextual commentary you'd expect from a conventional doc.
Instead, in an eight-minute audio interview, Adachi recalls his time as a guerrilla fighter against serene footage of cherry blossoms. You wouldn't think that juxtaposition would lead one to contemplate the Marxist struggle, but there you go.