The movie is a clear antithesis of the classical documentary as the creative treatment (or dramatization) of actualities. Nothing dramatic happens in A.K.A Serial killer, it restlessly follows landscapes of more than 33 cities to recreate the path of the assassin Nagayama Norio. It is actually this obsession with non events and daily landscapes that puts A.K.A Serial Killerso far from contemporaneous militant documentaries. As a matter of facts according to Yuriko Furuhata : filmic political resistance at the time was focusing on a dramatic treatment, on the faces of protesters.
Another movie released some time later affords numerous similarities with the least, it’s The Man Who put His Will on film by Nagisa Oshima. Nagisa was living in community with Matsuda and his wife at the time, it is natural that he was inspired by their theories. This second movie is a fiction relating contemporaneous student events in which a footage is found by a protester. This document shown in the movie bares no protester’s face, no protest, in place of which it shows streets, signs, posters, electrics posts. One part of the movie deals with the students that found the movie to talk about its political reach. Both movies are to be considered Fuku eiga (Landscape movies). They are for their theorists « an anchoring in the revolutionary acts of the human agents to a de-centralized analytic mode of investigating the immanent relations of power that are found within a historically specific social formation » . It is basically what Deleuze names the Diagrams. He defines them as « an emission, a distribution of singularities. At same time locals, unstable and diffuse, the power relationships don’t come from one central point neither do they come from one sole sovereignty place, but are going at every moments «from one to another» in a force field, showing inflexions, inverting, turning around, direction changing, resisting. That’s why they aren’t «localisable» in any instances. They are strategy as an exercice of non stratified, and «anonymous strategies» are almost mute and blind, because they escape to enunciable and visible stable forms.
That clearly is what Matsuda Masao in her essay inspired by Paul Virilio « landscape images in A.K.A Serial Killerand The Man Who put His Will on film clearly indicates that power is not synonymous with police, military or parliamentary power, but with transportation and infrastructure – in short, pathways of commerce and information.
Furuhata translate this will of showing the diagrams and thus actively shooting the landscapes by a returning to the origins of cinema with the actualities. This genra, by evolving with descriptives or dramatic narrative process will create modern documentary. That’s however an originally non narrative form of plans succession (most of the time fixed) showing movement (we are at the very early stages of cinema) as a foremost motivation and then only reality. In 1967 Jean Luc Godard’s La chinoise, Guillaume played by JEan Pierre Leaud announce during a debate that Lumière Brothers from their own perspective did not only shoot actualities but truly documentary because the point was in the end very similar to the one of Renoir when he painted workers exiting the factory or the train stations. Godard had seen right when treating this subject trhough young maoists panning their revolution. The echo will take place some 10 000 km over sea. The same way it feels like at this time the impressionist aspect of the actualities of Lumière was a debate subject as shown by Langlois (Frnch cinemathèque creator) in what looks like a paraphrase of Godard’s movie «Lumière’s operators didn’t shoot moveùent, neither history but life itself, and life is waymore profound than only two little girl on the champs élysées, because this plan gets you back to Renoir and Proust, to Monet painting St Lazare Station.
In some way the Japanese lanscape cinema is a reference to impressionism in painting that wanted to replace artistic discourse on life, getting out of the sublime to propose an apparent basic reality but that held keys for a political critic.
It is althought highly unprobable that Matsuda had access to these documents but as shown by Furuhata the XIXth century have seen importation in Japan of the concept of landscape itself as much as cinema in an important modernization and industrialisation period. According to the critic Karatani Kôjin « rather than existing before the landscape, individual and object emerged from within it. For artists like Matsuda Masao, we see the peculiar aspect of the landscape as a source element in Japanese consciousness. W.J.T. Mitchells writes that « the lanscape is a physical and sensory milieu[...] in which cultural values are encoded, placed here by physical alteration of a place like gardening, architecture or found in a space formed « by nature ».The collective act of shooting the urban and rural landscape uniformity in Japan shows the serial mass production and comfort standardization, that in return reproduce unqualified workers like Nagayama Norio. Adachi when he speaks about the « enemy of Nagayama » doesn’t only speak about the homogeneous landscape but of the invisible power relations that produce this homogeneous landscape.
A.K.A Serial Killer is a call for a new form of media consuming. It calls the spectator for an active watching and a critical look upon what is being shown. The movie contains all the elements the authors wanted to transmit but leaves the interpretation to the spectator.