Open City Documentary Festival

The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On + Q&A (1987)

Kazuo Hara
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BFI Southbank

Part of Kazuo Hara: In Focus

With a career spanning five decades, Kazuo Hara is widely recognised as one of Japan’s most important and influential documentary filmmakers and his notoriously confrontational method has transformed the art of documentary filmmaking. He has been awarded at festivals worldwide, and both The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On and Extreme Private Eros: Love Song 1974 appeared in the BFI’s poll of The 50 Greatest Documentaries of All Time.

In this venerated classic, Kazuo Hara follows World War II veteran Kenzo Okuzaki on his quest to expose Emperor Hirohito and the officers who killed their own soldiers in his name. Under Hara’s watchful eye, Okuzaki seeks out the perpetrators one-by-one in a series of bizarre and increasingly violent encounters, provoking outrage, anger and the occasional astounding confession. Situated somewhere between farce and horror, Hara’s hugely influential film pushes the limits of the documentary form, following OkuzakiJapan’s ultimate anti-establishmentarianfor more than five years in his tireless, impassioned pursuit of justice.

+ Q&A with Kazuo Hara, hosted by Tony Rayns (critic and programmer with a special interest in East Asian cinema)

Supported by Japan Foundation London