May 27, 2011
Studio: Lorber Films
Director: Koji Wakamatsu
MPAA Rating: N/A
Screenwriters: Koji Wakamatsu, Masayuki Kakegawa
Starring: Maki Sakai, Arata , Akie Namiki
Shot in a raw verite style, "United Red Army" 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. Mr. Wakamatsu's harrowing film depicts the famed Asama-Sanso incident, which began when members of the United Red Army assassinated 14 of its own, during a group "self-criticism" session, and then broke into a holiday lodge below Mount Asama and took the wife of the lodge-keeper as a hostage. A standoff between police and the URA radicals took place, lasting ten days. The radical student protests that rocked Japan in the late 1960s were in many ways, a response to the growing military alignment between Japan and the United States (ratified by the Japan-US Security Treaty signed in 1951). But the decisions made by the Japanese Communist Party, which was being accused of rigidity (and even "Stalinism") also played a role in the radicalization of the Japanese student movement during the 1960s and 70s in Japan.