Kazuo Hara

  • Kazuo Hara – Sayonara CP (1972)

    1971-1980DocumentaryJapanKazuo Hara

    An early documentary to portray the experiences of disabled people with compassion and complexity, Kazuo Hara’s searing debut is also one of the most unflinching films ever made about what it means to be an outsider. Produced in collaboration with the Green Lawn—a group of activists with cerebral palsy who work to raise awareness of the condition—GOODBYE CP blends jagged, shot-on-the-fly footage of the members’ seemingly Sisyphean struggle to take their message to the streets with raw, sometimes confrontational interviews in which they reveal the torment of living in a society cruelly indifferent to their existence. In making his subjects active participants in the film’s creation—a practice he would continue throughout his career—Hara powerfully asserts the humanity and agency of those who have long been denied both.Read More »

  • Kazuo Hara – Reiwa Uprising (2019)

    2011-2020DocumentaryJapanKazuo HaraPolitics

    Kazuo Hara follows Ayumi Yasutomi, a transgender candidate, who is also a Tokyo University professor, as she embarks on a national campaign for a seat in Japan’s Upper House.Read More »

  • Kazuo Hara – Minamata Mandala (2020)

    Kazuo Hara2011-2020DocumentaryJapan

    “Minamata disease” is a neurological disease caused by methylmercury poisoning named for its identification in Kumamoto Prefecture, where industrial wastewater from a Chisso Corporation chemical plant contaminated fish and shellfish consumed by communities around Minamata Bay and the Shiranui Sea. Filmed over 15 years, this sprawling documentary lays out this history of pollution dating back to the 1930s and decades long legal battles against the government for diagnosis certification and reparations. However the film gives itself over to the network of survivors, care providers, and supporters keeping the fight alive, following unexpected chutes and ladders from gregarious researchers’ theories pushing back against an intransigent medical establishment, to the passionate song lyrics of a woman suffering since childhood. Here Hara and Kobayashi return to core commitments of disability rights and individuals’ demands of the state, extending Noriaki Tsuchimoto’s landmark series on the Minamata struggle, and issuing a cry against political apathy.Read More »

  • Kazuo Hara – Mata no hi no chika AKA The Many Faces of Chika (2005)

    2001-2010AsianDramaJapanKazuo Hara

    Director Kazuo Hara tells the tale of the eponymous Chika and four different relationships she has during the turbulent political climate of the 1970s. Four different actresses play the role of Chika in order to emphasise the different ways she is perceived by her husband, a teacher, a student and an aging gangster.Read More »

  • Kazuo Hara – Yuki Yukite shingun AKA The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On (1987)

    Documentary1981-1990AsianJapanKazuo Hara

    The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On is a brilliant exploration of memory and war guilt, a subject often ignored in modern Japan. In this controversial documentary, Kazuo Hara follows Kenzo Okuzaki in his real-life struggle against Emperor Hirohito. He proudly declares that he shot BBs at the Royal Palace, distributed pornographic images of the Emperor, and once killed a man for the sake of his strange crusade. As the film progresses, Okuzaki reveals a gruesome mystery: why were some Japanese officers killing their own soldiers during WWII? What happened to their bodies? Okuzaki begs, cajoles, and occasionally beats the story out of elderly veterans.Read More »

  • Kazuo Hara – Zenshin shosetsuka aka A Dedicated Life (1994)

    1991-2000AsianDocumentaryJapanKazuo Hara

    An interesting documentary about an interesting man, to say the least. Kazuo Hara follows up his controversial work “The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On” with a bio-documentary about Mitsuharu Inoue, a famous and popular (especially among women) post-war Japanese writer. The film follows the last few years of the life of Inoue before he dies of cancer in 1992. The film starts out as a usual bio-documentary like many others, but the second half of the film digs into the writer’s past and comes up with some unexpected discoveries.Read More »

  • Kazuo Hara – Nippon Asbest Village AKA Sennan Asbestos Disaster (2016)

    2011-2020DocumentaryJapanKazuo Hara

    Ten years in the making, Kazuo Hara’s three-and-a-half-hour-long epic is a longitudinal study of asbestos victims demanding reparations from a heartless state. Hara records the eight-year struggle of the plaintiffs and their lawyers. A dogged and dramatic depiction of their intense battle.Read More »

  • Kazuo Hara – Gokushiteki erosu: Renka 1974 aka Extreme Private Eros: Love Song 1974 (1974)

    1971-1980AsianDocumentaryJapanKazuo Hara

    In 1972, Miyuki tells her ex-lover Kazuo that she’s going to Okinawa with their son. Kazuo decides to film her. He narrates his visits to her there: first while her flatmate is Sugako, a woman Miyuki is attracted to; then, while she works at a bar and is with Paul, an African-American soldier. Once, Kazuo brings his girlfriend, Sachiko. We see Miyuki with her son, with other bar girls, and with Sachiko. Miyuki, pregnant, returns to Tokyo and delivers a mixed-race child on her own with Kazuo and Sachiko filming. She joins a women’s commune, talks about possibilities, enjoys motherhood, and is uninterested in a traditional family. Does the filmmaker have a point of view?Read More »

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