Sanrizuka – Peasants of the Second Fortress

30 March, 2017 - 16:00

The program Of Time and Struggle highlights four crucial documentaries made by Ogawa Productions between 1971 and 1986. This collective of filmmakers founded in the late 1960s, under the direction of Ogawa Shinsuke, chronicled with remarkable dedication some of the major political and social upheavals in Japan’s ‘season of politics’ from the 1960s through the 1970s, including the struggles of the student movement and long-term resistance by farmers in Sanrizuka. Ogawa Productions’ work aspired to collective decision-making, achieving an unusual level of engagement with the people they filmed. They aimed to make independent and partisan films, while at the same time developing alternative ways for distributing, screening and discussing their work.

Sanrizuka – Peasants of the Second Fortress (Sanrizuka – Daini toride no hitobito)

Ogawa Productions

Sanrizuka – Peasants of the Second Fortress is the fourth in a series of seven films shot between 1968 and 1977 by Ogawa Productions in the fields of Sanrizuka, documenting the ongoing resistance by the farmers and their allies against the construction of a new international airport. Four years into the conflict, the authorities started the coercive expropriation of the farmlands and the violence escalated. This was met by the farmers and fighting students with a renewed sense of resistance, and with the need to organize, unite and protect themselves and the land from the riot police. They erected barricades and set up fortresses, digging underground tunnels to prepare for a long confrontation. The women farmers, on the front line since the beginning of the conflict, chained themselves to the trees. The filmmakers of Ogawa Productions are inside the fortress, following the preparations, discussions and the ensuing battles, documenting the struggles with long takes, shot with boldness and proximity. In between moments of tension and extraordinary filming, they listen at length to the farmers talking about why they resist, while also expressing their anger, fears and hopes. The filmmakers follow the farmers to the safety of the dark underground tunnels, which become a powerful symbol of their lasting resistance.