In their best-known and most highly regarded film, Kazuo Hara and Sachiko Kobayashi follow Kenzo Okuzaki—a 62-year-old veteran notorious for slinging pachinko balls at the Japanese emperor—on his single-minded campaign to denounce imperialism and expose the truth about war atrocities committed by Japanese officers in New Guinea in 1945 by any means necessary. Consistently recognized as a masterpiece of nonfiction cinema—and a favorite of both Michael Moore and Errol Morris—The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On peels back deeply disturbing aspects of Japanese history in order to provocatively evoke multi-faceted considerations of retribution, ethics and the nature of evil. A must-see.
“Kazuo Hara is one of the undiscovered geniuses of documentary. I first saw The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On at the San Francisco Film Festival. Werner Herzog and I were sitting together. We couldn’t believe it. Here was one of the weirdest, most dramatic stories ever. And the movie itself? What can I say? It’s on my list of the 10 best movies ever. You have all these layers: the underlying historical reality, the obsessed and crazed Mr. Okuzaki pursuing that historical reality despite all odds, and the obsessed and quite possibly crazed filmmaker pursuing Mr. Okuzaki.” —Errol Morris
Streaming in the U.S. from June 4-July 2 as part of Cinema as Struggle: The Films of Kazuo Hara & Sachiko Kobayashi