Hara Kazuo

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					       Hara Kazuo

The Maverick Documentary Maker
                Hara Kazuo (1945 - )
• Born in Yamaguchi, June,
• Father left for the front
  before his son was born and
  never returned going
• Mother remarried to a
• Studied in a night high
  school working for Red
  Cross during the day.
• Assistant in a local office of
  a newspaper.
Hara Kazuo (1945 - )
    • Entered Tokyo Academy of
      Photography in 1966.
    • Visited a institution for severely
      handicapped children as his
      photo project
    • Involved in the commune for
      people suffering from cerebral
      palsy run by a Buddhist monk.
    • Began to work for a nursing
      institution for the physically
              Hara Kazuo (1945 - )
• Married Takeda Miyuki, an
  aspiring painter, who also
  worked at the institution
• His first photo exhibition:
  Bakani Sun’na (Don‟t
  ridicule us)
• Met Kobayashi Sachiko, an
  aspiring filmmaker, whom
  he later married.
• Shisso Production in 1972
  and the first film with
  Kobayashi as his assistant.
     Hara‟s Documentaries: Sayonara CP

• Sayonara CP (Good-bye CP, 1972) - a
  documentary on the adult cerebral palsied: their
  wish to live their life as others do and its
• Unsentimental and committed documentary
     Hara‟s Documentaries: Sayonara CP

• Challenge to taboos - to show what we do not wish
  to see and to tell what we do not wish to hear
• Relentless representation of what is difficult to
  watch and to hear.
• CP‟s desires: CPs discuss their sexual life; CP‟s
  desire to express oneself
Hara‟s Documentaries: Sayonara CP

“bitter films... A documentary should
explore things that people don't want to
explore, bring things out of the closet, to
examine why people want to hide certain
     Hara‟s Documentaries: Sayonara CP

• The film provokes embarrassments, conflicts and
  crises which would not have happened if the film
  were not made: Honest records of embarrassments,
  conflicts, and crises.
• Family quarrel and rejection of being filmed
    Hara‟s Documentaries: Sayonara CP

• The camera maintains to be an observer refusing
  to intervene.
• Even when filmmakers should abandon filming
  and intervene to the crisis provoked by them
• CP crossing the crossing.
 Hara‟s Documentaries: Extremely Private Eros

• Extremely Private Eros: Love Song 1974
  (Gokushiteki Eros: Koiuta, 1974) - follows the life
  of Hara‟s lover, Takeda Miyuki: her departure for
  Okinawa with her baby, her lesbian relationship, her
  affair with a black soldier and pregnancy, her work
  in a hostess bar, and her giving birth to a daughter.
Hara‟s Documentaries: Extremely Private Eros

• Takeda Miyuki gives birth to a daughter almost on
  her own. Hara just records it despite risks to his
  former wife and baby (we can see that he is very
  nervous as the camera is shaky and the image is
  out of focus) .
Hara‟s Documentaries: Extremely Private Eros

• The audience witness the most difficult images to
  watch. Miyuki giving birth.
• “Seeing is not an aesthetic affair but ethical or
  political one: why does the audience avoids to
  watch?” Hara‟s filmmaking principle.
Hara‟s Documentaries: Extremely Private Eros

• Hara operates the camera and Kobayashi Sachiko,
  his partner and new lover, records the sound. He
  lives with Miyuki, provokes uneasiness, jealousy,
  rivalry, quarrels, and conflicts.
• Interaction between the camera and the characters
  in the film - fiction or reality? Similar issue - is
  reality TV a fiction or reality?
    Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On

• Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On (Yuki
  Yukite Shingun, 1987) - a documentary on
  Okuzaki Kenzo, one of the 30 survivors of a
  thousand-strong regiment stationed in New
    Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On

• Okuzaki dedicates his post-war life to visit the
  other survivors of the regiment and forces them to
  reveal the truth about their fellow soldiers, who
  are considered executed 23 days after the official
  end of the war for alleged desertion. (He does not
  know the truth as he was imprisoned when the
  executions were carried out.)
       Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On

• Between 1982 and 1983 Hara followed Okuzaki‟s
  one-man crusade as the latter drove a van with anti-
  imperialist slogan and knocked on the doors of the
  survivors. Okuzaki resorted to violence sometimes
  when they refused to confess and finally truths
  were bullied into open.
     Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On

• Starving Japanese soldiers survived on „black
  pork‟ of New Guinea natives, „white pork‟ of
  imprisoned white soldiers and the flesh of low-
  ranking, trouble-making fellow soldiers.
   Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On

• Japan‟s old wound reopened by a near insane,
  obsessive veteran half a century later
• The war, war crime, the imperial system
• Okuzaki arrested for pelting a marble (pachinko
  ball) against the Emperor.
    Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On

• Okuzaki may have been provoked to be fanatic,
  aggressive, persistent, and accusatory by Hara
  and the existence of a camera.
• Okuzaki took theatrical actions because he was
  the subject of a documentary film
     Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On

• Hara creates crises but refuse to intervene.
• When Okuzaki is overwhelmed by four men, he
  begs Hara to stop filming and help him, but Hara
  continues to film.
• When Okuzaki tries to violate Yamada in bed,
  Hara refuses to intervene.
   Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On

• Hara‟s provocation and non-interventionist
  attitudes go out of hand when Okuzaki
  announces that he will kill the commander
  of the regiment and requests Hara to film it.
  Hara cannot reply and Okuzaki takes it a
  refusal. „I could have shot a real murder.
  Why did not I? That was because I did not
  like Okuzaki … But if I had liked him, did I
  shoot it? If I had liked him, I might have
  shot it.‟
  Hara‟s Documentaries: A Dedicated Life

• A Dedicated Life (Zenshin Shosetsuka , 1994) - a
  documentary on the last years of a left-wing
  novelist, Inoue Mitsuharu and the gap between
  his real and fictitious lives that he invented.
   Hara‟s Documentaries: A Dedicated Life

• Demythologizing of the left-wing intellectual and
• Though a committed novelist and teacher, he is
  frequently out of control with drink and a great
• The film begins with his stripping himself -
  iconoclastic images - something difficult to watch
            Auteur Documentarist

• Hara‟s documentaries - records of and tributes
  to outsiders, mavericks, minorities, and non-
  conformists who challenge the constraints and
  hypocrisies of the normal society.
• Push the boundaries of documentary films to
  aggressive challenge to social taboos.
• Relentless exposition of something the most
             Auteur Documentarist
• Total lack of technical smoothness - grainy
  photography, composition to remind us of a
  home movie, occasional out-of-sync sound.
  Visual styles which make the audience aware
  they are watching a documentary.
• Hara stays with the subject of his film for a long
  time and his camera records it‟s life as if it were
  his own eye.

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