Documentary Review: The New God (1999) by Yutaka Tsuchiya

“The New God” is a quite uncommon documentary, for numerous causes. Shot on video by Tsuchiya, who’s a key member of the Japanese left-wing neighborhood, the documentary focuses on two nationalists, Karin Amamiya and Hidehito Itoh, who’re additionally the important thing members of the ultra-right, hard-core punk band “The Revolutionary Fact”. Tsuchiya handed Amamiya a DV-camera, on which she recorded herself for a bit of over a month, in a course of that allowed her to turn out to be way more intimate than anybody, together with the director, may count on. Much more surprisingly, Tsuchiya and Amamiya ended up getting married a while after the documentary, in a sequence of occasions that had her transferring away from Itoh, which really begun through the documentary.

“The New God” is screening free of charge at DAFilms as a part of the “Made in Japan, Yamagata 1989 – 2021” program

The documentary unfolds in numerous axes. The nationalist, right-wing rhetoric takes a big half as each Amamiya and Itoh elaborate on their political opinions, together with the racism in opposition to People and their admiration for the pre-WWII Japanese army, sometimes via their songs. A visit Amamiya takes to North Korea, alongside a former Purple Military faction chief, the place she information her ideas within the lodge she is staying, serves as a turning level for her, each as an individual, as she actually begins to open up after this, and concerning her sociopolitical opinions. The sense of solidarity she experiences whereas there makes her query Japanese mentality intensely, and notably the detachment of her fellow residents from something political and even social. “The Japanese can’t make associates. Solely minimize their wrists and name intercourse traces.”, utters in some unspecified time in the future, marking her opinion in essentially the most pragmatist approach.

Step by step, Amamiya takes over the documentary nearly fully, because the dialogue about politics (together with the Yasukuni Shrine and Japan’s relationship with the US, which is definitely what sometimes brings rightists and leftists collectively of their frequent “hate”) turns into way more private. In that vogue, she begins explaining the explanations she changed into a Nationalist, which derive from a troubled childhood that concerned intense bullying, which ultimately led her to numerous failed suicide makes an attempt, and a robust must be a part of one thing. As we hear her say, “I’m trying to find a self as a result of I don’t have one”, it turns into apparent that this sentence synopsizes her mentality totally. On the similar time, her general look, with the dyed-blonde hair and the impressively lengthy and lacquered nails, and her fixed effort to take over the narrative, add one other degree to this portrait, which someway justifies the explanations for her being a member of a band.

Because the documentary progresses, the problems between the 2 members of the group turn out to be much more apparent, with the inclusion of guitarist Umitaro Tanaka, who is definitely on a very completely different political spectrum as a liberal, being an nearly determined effort to tone them down. His quite completely different opinion, nonetheless, leads to the viewer questioning the precise objective of “The Revolutionary Fact”. The truth that their music stays considerably awful, provides one other degree to this query, notably as a result of their kicking out of dwell venues and their failure to make a report contract is revealed as not solely having to do with their rhetoric.

Itoh is rapidly positioned within the background, however his political beliefs are additionally highlighted, whereas their shared portrait quickly finally ends up revealing that their variations with Tsuchiya are usually not as vital as one would thought, and that regardless of the completely different political house they ended up inhabiting, their start line is sort of comparable.

Moreover, the shortage of political will the Japanese exhibit can also be highlighted within the documentary, as a lot because the rising dissatisfaction of many concerning their lives, which sometimes leads into radical paths.



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