The Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. For more information on films playing in the Cinémathèque, please call 773-281-4114. To order advance tickets online, visit the TicketWeb website by clicking here.
SHOCKWAVE RIDER: THE TRANSGRESSIVE DOCUMENTARIES OF KAZUO HARA
"I make bitter films. I hate mainstream society." -Kazuo Hara
Kazuo Hara has been making scandalous films about scandalous people since 1972. He made his
debut with Goodbye CP and shocked Japanese audiences with its frank portrayal of people
with cerebral palsy. He describes his work as going beyond the boundaries set by society so that
he can approach his subjects in close-up. He left the Tokyo Technical Institute of Photography
because "photography only allowed him to get to know people on a superficial level". He decided to
start an independent career which would bridge the gap between the two great extremes of
documentary filmmaking of the last thirty years: the collective documentary of the 60's and the
private films of the 90's. His films reveal how life stories are constructed across the border
between fiction and reality.
EXTREMELY PERSONAL EROS: LOVE SONG 1974
(KYOKUSHITEKI EROSU KOIUTA)
"An emotionally scalding yet absorbing cinematic open wound." -Shock Cinema
In his second film, Extremely Personal Eros: Love Song 1974, in his uncompromising
documentary style Hara made, without question, his most outrageous, personal and masochistic work.
Shot over several years, mostly in handheld b&w and often with out-of-synch sound, this raw
confessional has Hara following his ex-wife, 26-year-old radical feminist Miyuki Takeda. The two
lived together for three years and share a child, as this documentary captures their post-break-up
relationship and her new life without him. This was a brutal dose of reality for Japanese viewers,
as it matter-of-factly tackles heartache, sex, insecurities, gender politics, and even on-camera
childbirth. This is an extraordinarily intimate portrayal of the ideology, philosophy, and lives
of radicals in the Vietnam era, revolving around the postwar relationship of Japan, Okinawa, and
the United States.
Directed by Kazuo Hara, Japan, 1974, 16mm, 97 mins. In Japanese with English
Sat.-Sun., Dec. 9-10 at 3 pm
THE EMPEROR'S NAKED ARMY MARCHES ON
(YUKI YUKITE SHINGUN)
Caligari Film Award Berlin Intl Film Fest
"Alarming and significantly lunatic...The most invigorating thing about The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On is its consistent irreverence... It means to provoke and disturb - and let the devil take the hindmost." -New York Times
"Jigsaw-like in construction, alleviated by mad wit, the film is unlike any other: rough, raw and sometimes surprisingly moving, it's absolutely compelling." -Time Out London
An exceptional documentary portrait of Kenzo Okuzaki, a 62-year-old WWII veteran who acquired a
prison record (for killing a man and for firing pachinko balls at the Emperor) in the
course of his fanatical campaign to lay the blame for Japan's conduct of the war on the Emperor.
He seeks to expose the horrifying secret behind an incident, buried by history, involving the
Japanese army stationed in New Guinea at the end of the war. Specifically, he wants to know why
several Japanese soldiers were executed by their commander. Forty years later survivors are taken
aback by Okuzaki's sudden visit and his insistence that they speak out in front of the camera, a
volatile mix of apologetic politeness, deceit (his wife and anarchist friend pose as victims'
relatives), and sudden violence. Kazuo Hara's fly-on-the-wall technique fascinates both for its
bizarre protagonist, and for its brutally frank portrait of a society constrained by notions of
shame rather than guilt.
Directed by Kazuo Hara, Japan, 1987, 35mm, 122 mins. In Japanese with
Master documentary filmmaker Kazuo Hara directs this portrait of noted writer and literary
figure Mitsuharu Inoue. A Dedicated Life focuses on a subject to the point where all
notions of a stable truth are destroyed. The film began as an account of the life of Japanese
novelist Mitsuharu Inoue, but in the course of shooting the writer contracted cancer, physically
deteriorated and passed away. We watch him reminisce about his early life as he begins to die,
only to realise some two-thirds of the way into the film that the interviews with his childhood
acquaintances contradict almost everything Inoue has said. Hara commented after the film that he
had nearly finished shooting A Dedicated Life before he realized it was not about Inoue's
life story, but the reality of the fictional world in which the writer lived.
Directed by Kazuo
Hara, Japan, 1994, 35mm, 157 mins. In Japanese with English subtitles.
Sat., Dec. 23 at 1 pm
Fri., Dec. 29 at 6 pm
Goodbye CP challenges taboos about representations of handicapped people, in particular
the shame associated with physical differences. In a street in downtown Yokohama the main
protagonist, Yokota Hiroshi, proudly displays his naked body. Hara emphasizes this kind of scene,
stating, "It is difficult to look at handicapped people's bodies so that's what I wanted to show."
Hara allows the disabled to speak for themselves as participants rather than as victims; as Yokota
says, "Pity, I can do without." Goodbye CP does not encourage a facile empathy with the
plight of people with disabilities but rather forces viewers to confront their own fears and
Directed by Kazuo Hara, Japan, 1972, 16mm, 82 mins. In Japanese with English