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" A "


〒156-0043 東京都世田谷区松原6-7-9 202号

Director : Mori Tatsuya
Photography, Editing : Mori Tatsuya, Yasuoka Takaharu
Producer : Yasuoka Takaharu, " A " Production Commitee
Source : " A " Production Commitee
6-7-9-202 Matsubara, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 156-0043 JAPAN
Phone: 81-3-3324-8626 / Fax: 81-3-3327-6971
e-mail: YASUS@NetLaputa.or.jp

JAPAN /1997 / Japanese / Color / Video / 130 min




Documentary usually exposes social evils by championing the side of the just minority, the oppressed few who struggle for what is right in the face of the machinations of the corrupt and powerful. Aum Supreme Truth, the subject of A, is by no means a righteous underdog, however. Led by their mad guru, Asahara Shoko, many of the cult's believers killed dozens in chemical attacks, assassinations, and even lynchings of their own members. The police responded with a full-scale assault, arresting hundreds in a shocking drama that kept most Japanese glued to their televisions for over a year.

By following the remaining cult members with his camera and taking their side spatially, Mori Tatsuya exposes himself to charges of sympathizing with a murderous cabal. But it is his daring choice of perspective that provides him with a critical stance none of the major media were able to assume. When his camera captures a police detective in the act of shamelessly framing an innocent believer, it becomes clear that the corruption of normal society is sometimes more manifestly exposed through an evil Other like Aum.

His decision to use that video to free the believer is also Mori's statement on documentary, on the necessity to complicate the narrative simplicities of good versus evil, as well as on the importance of a commitment to human values. Against a mass media that demonized the cult members, fomenting a hysteria which rendered them inhuman and thus without rights, Mori emphasizes their all-too human side. And when he shows one's visit to his grandmother --a taboo in Aum society--he underlines that it is human contact, not ostracism nor police and media brutality, that will solve the evils of both Aum and normal society.
- Aaron Gerow


Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival Organizing Committee