In this landmark documentary, Kenzo Okuzaki, a veteran of Japan’s WWII campaign in New Guinea, painstakingly tracks down the former military officers responsible for the strange deaths of several of his fellow soldiers.
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The Emperor's Naked Army Marches OnDirected byKazuo Hara
I've never seen a testimony film quite like this. It tries to speak of the unspeakable. You can see the contrasts with western culture. Japanese are so eager to please even in the most difficult situations, although the eyes are crying a gentle smile seems to be held, to avoid distressing the guests I imagine.
The fact that the camera is always present in these situations is impressive.
I can never watch this movie again, I've watched it so many times. It's horrifying, it's unbelievable. It's incomplete without glancing at the background information on the filming process; check out the book Camera Obstrusa, interviews with the director, and some critical commentaries on the ethical questions created by Hara's approach.
What Kuzuo Hara's staggering documentary is ultimately about is civilization. Civilization not just as anthropological superstructure, but also the ethicomoral dimension: what it means to be "civilized." War is the despoiler. War, trauma, culpability. When it comes to reconciliation or retribution, Japanese culture, as exemplified here, posits a captivating model. Is there a civil way to reckon w/ our barbarism(s)?
Astonishing. The way, for example, Hara's camera mirrors his subject's tactics so that, even as audience, we find ourselves implicated in... something; some naked morality, after the niceties of ethical standards are stripped away. Confronted, we engage. Just as fervent, ethically-immoderate Okuzaki, extracting his own admissions of complicity, can force awake the repressed humanity of a generation/society/world. 4.5
Can't find the words except to tell you to watch it. I couldn't have imagined that a film consisting almost entirely of live dialogue shot in living rooms and offices would leave me with such lucid and horrific images in my mind.
Hara is such an amazing discovery for me. Thank you Mubi. I found this film to be engrossing from the first minute to the last. The depiction of its subject with all his strengths and weaknesses, his honor and his insanity is brilliant. This is now one of my favorite documentaries and to think I almost didn't watch it. I look forward to the other Hara films.
This is an incredibly powerful testimony film. The fragile humanity, sense of ethical responsibility and suffering of the survivors and family members comes out in every minute of footage. The main character is an ordinary man who achieves greatness by sheer will to reveal the horror of power in war.