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
Awards & Festivals
Berlin International Film Festival
1987 | Winner: Caligari Film Award
International Film Festival Rotterdam
1988 | Winner: KNF Award
Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards
1989 | 2nd place: Best Documentary/Non-Fiction Film
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.
tenacious, obstinate and fucked in the head. i'd normally dislike him but not this time, we need more guys like okuzaki for this kind of thing. one of the best documentaries ever. intense, yet calm and very cultural
like a real-life under the flag of the rising sun, and all the more shocking for that. sometimes okuzaki veered into megalomania, but you have to respect his tenacity. i loved how he would entertain the typical customs of japanese politeness, but eventually blow up when his subjects kept using it as a shield. very interesting how the deaths of natives didn't register as an issue of morality for anyone in the film.
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.