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Kazuo Hara in Person

Saturday, May 2, 2009
12:00 NOON Extreme Private Eros: Love Song 1974
Kazuo Hara (Japan, 1974)

Kazuo Hara in Person
Hosted by Miryam Sas

Miryam Sas is an associate professor of comparative literature and film studies at UC Berkeley.

(Gokushiteki erosu: Renka 1974). Near the beginning of Kazuo Hara’s extremely personal documentary, the director admits he made the film to attempt to deal with his feelings for his ex-lover Miyuki, a bisexual feminist activist and the mother of his child. This confession suggests Hara felt haunted by Miyuki and that he needed to exorcise her. Yet his film proves otherwise: it portrays a unique woman who meets life head-on, unafraid of its complexity. The film doesn’t shy away from messiness; on the contrary, it revels in it. Miyuki grants Hara and his camera an astonishing level of access, stripping herself bare both literally and figuratively. The result is a rich, emotionally raw film that is as much about its director as it is about its ostensible subject. Hara correctly sees part of himself in Miyuki, who seems unconcerned with being portrayed sympathetically. Frequently directing her ire at Hara and the camera, Miyuki comes off as temperamental, angry, stubborn, unpredictable, beautiful, and very much alive.

—Jonathan L. Knapp

• Photographed by Hara. (98 mins, In Japanese with English subtitles, B&W, 16mm, From Tidepoint Pictures)