Hara Kazuo The Maverick Documentary Maker Hara Kazuo (1945 - ) • Born in Yamaguchi, June, 1945 • Father left for the front before his son was born and never returned going missing. • Mother remarried to a miner. • 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 handicapped 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 difficulties • 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 things.” 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 Guinea. 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 novelist • Though a committed novelist and teacher, he is frequently out of control with drink and a great womanizer • 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 private. 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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