Japanese filmmaker Koji Wakamatsu might now be able to travel freely and widely to promote his films - he recently graced film festivals in Berlin and Hong Kong to present his latest anti-war treatise, Caterpillar - but there was a time when he couldn't leave his homeland for fear of being arrested as a 'terrorist' by the Interpol. His tribulations stemmed from his 1971 work The Red Army/ PFLP: Declaration of World War but he was a controversial figure even before that film, having spent the 1960s making erotic films laced with radical political messages and actually representing his country at international film festivals with his work; by joining fugitive Japanese extreme-left militants in Palestine and making a film out of his experience, the director finally became persona non grata. Now available online at Ubuweb (ubu.com/bidoun/index.html), the film doesn't disguise itself as an objective documentary; with an opening sequence featuring the militants' hijacking of a Japanese airliner in 1970 set to the strains of the Internationale and a propaganda-like voiceover ('This is a news film for the construction of the world [sic] Red Army'), and the constant appearance of slogans ('Weapons are the Language of Oppressed People' - followed by close-ups of grenades and machine guns), Declaration is an outright political diatribe, as the filmmakers illustrate the 'struggle' through images of Palestinian training camps and refugee settlements. In an interview several years ago with (now defunct) Japanese online portal Insite Tokyo, Wakamatsu recalls arriving in Palestine - from the Cannes festival, of all places - and seeking permission from the militants to shoot the film. He was asked whether he would pick up a gun or a camera in danger; when he chose the former, he was given a uniform and made to learn how to fire and dismantle guns instead, as 'they wouldn't let me film'. Eventually the militants agreed to be filmed - for one day, during which Wakamatsu and co-director Masao Adachi shot everything they needed. If you think Wakamatsu was radicalised by it all - something he said he passed on to his US-educated daughter, whom he sent to receive 'four years of re-education' among Palestinian guerillas in Beirut - think of what the experience did to Adachi: the screenwriter left Japan in 1974 to join the Palestinian liberation movement, and was not heard of until 1997, when he was arrested and jailed in Lebanon. He was extradited to Japan in 2001 and served two more years in prison. He eventually returned to filmmaking in 2007 with Prisoner/Terrorist, a story about Kozo Okamoto, a fellow Red Army militant who also spent two decades in Palestine and was jailed and then sent back to Japan alongside Adachi. Wakamatsu continued to stoke the fury of Japanese right-wingers with films such as Ecstasy of the Angels, Erotic Liaisons and Perfect Education 6: Red Murder. His 2007 film, United Red Army, was critically lauded: the three-hour epic chronicles the deadly 1972 stand-off between a group of extreme-left activists and the police in a remote mountain lodge in Japan.