THE RED TAPES, 1977-79

When 13 Apr 2013
4:00PM - 7:00PM
Where NYU Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies, Screening Room
255 Sullivan Street
New York, NY
United States

April 13 2013, 4-7pm.

Press Release:

A screening of Naeem Mohaiemen’s United Red Army (70 min, 2012), based on tapes of the 1977 negotiations between the Japanese hijacker of JAL 472 and the control tower in Bangladesh, along with a selection of films from the Afghan Films archive that document the early Communist period, 1978-79 (approximately 20 minutes). Followed by a discussion of excavations in the archives of Asian radicalism with Naeem MohaiemenMariam GhaniChitra GaneshZohra Saed, and Alix Rule.

Co-sponsored by the NYU Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies, Alwan for the Arts, and 3rd i NY South Asian Film Collective.

Naeem Mohaiemen’s United Red Army is the latest installment of The Young Man Was, a multi-year project constructing a history of the 1970s ultra-left. On September 28, 1977, the Japanese Red Army hijacked JAL 472 and flew it to Dhaka. As a negotiation began between the control tower and the lead hijacker (codename: Dankesu), a whole series of unintended consequences are set off. Outside the plane, Dhaka witnesses fierce internal struggles of an unsteady military government, a Hollywood actress on her truncated honeymoon, and an interrupted episode of The Zoo Gang. Two weeks later, the hijack of Lufthansa 181 ends very differently–German commandos storm the plane in Mogadishu, killing the hijackers. The aftershocks include the Stammheim suicides and the execution of Hanns-Martin Schleyer. Act one of a certain 1970s scene ends.

The film pivots off the audio recordings of the five-day negotiation. Shumon Bashar wrote in Tank: “the crackly voices of these two strangers hurled into a forced, awkward intimacy… the tone with which they started their discussion was peculiarly polite, until the accord between ransom and reason reached breaking point.” Andrew Burke said it “feels like a lost chapter of Chris Marker’s epic history of the revolutionary upheavals of the 1960s and 70s” (Alt Shipping).

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