Midnight Eye wrote:
A horrifying series of murders, committed by a teenaged killer in 1968, prompted a group of filmmakers to chart his path, capturing the things he might have seen before committing his crimes. Their result is this provocative, rarely-screened meditation on geography and society.
Ciné-activism in an Archipelagic World by Sabu Kohso wrote:
In 1969, Adachi, who had already made a number of important films, led a group of people, who were all in the vanguard of filmmaking in Japan, in making a film called “AKA. Serial Killer.” The camera eye mostly shows various landscapes across Japan, following the itinerary of a young informal worker, Norio Nagayama, who ended up committing a series of shootings in these places. Then a relatively known film director made a narrative film about Nagayama’s miserable upbringing and tried to make a statement about the social inequality that was supposed to have been responsible for his crime (The film is “Naked Nineteen -Hadaka no Jyuukyuu-sai-” directed by Kaneto Shindo, 1970). Meanwhile this group decided to pursue a totally different approach, which, precisely speaking, is neither a story film nor documentary. It is an attempt to see exactly what Nagayama saw along his itinerary looking for a better job, a better place, which never existed. The resulting film shows a series of terrains that have been transformed to the effect of losing genius loci or the singularities of place and became a series of postcard-like landscapes. This was the most straightforward critique of capital’s “real subsumption,” namely, the overall commodification of the everyday, which corresponds to the critique of “spectacle” by Guy Debord (The key word used in the debate provoked by the film was fukei in Japanese, which is commonly translated as “landscape.” As opposed to that, the music critic Yuzo Sakuramoto suggested to use “spectacle.”).