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
Wow. A remarkable, if not slightly unstable protagonist, each scene was as unexpected and revealing as the next. The brutality of war and war crimes are exposed in intimate conversations, by an unrelenting personality who believes the end justifies the means. The contrast of inherent Japanese politeness and war atrocities are powerful and make this a must-see. Incredible documentary.
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)?
No question that war leads to trauma, with effects that can last a lifetime. Survival comes with it's own horror. For some it will be regret, shame, denial or a murky combination of all. Or for our protagonist - preventing war with violence! Fascinating story, fascinating characters, and a history of WWII that is very rarely included. Genocide and war crimes were not just a European tragedy. Worth watching!
So much terrifying anger and hatred encapsulated in what seem a brief two hours. Okuzaki is that one man who refuses to forget, refuses to forgive, and demands truth with a startling and violent tenacity. It's hard not to despise Okuzaki, but equally difficult not to empathize with him and even love him. He's fierce, so damn fierce. The question that haunts, is what part does the camera play in all this...?
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.
Every culture got a way to treat their wounded war. This is the "japanese way" treatment, full of respect, rage, joy, kindness, unkindness, violence, non violence, Okuzaki. The main character from this doc is in all of us. Violence, non violence, bounded and injured, without knowing exactly what is right from that wrong.
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.
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.
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.