Sennan Asbestos Disaster [Nipponkoku VS Sennan Ishiwatamura]
(Kazuo Hara, 2017, Japan, 215 Min, Digital)
Director Kazuo Hara and producer Sachiko Kobayashi in attendance!
After a documentary portrait of novelist Mitsuharu Inoue and a lone foray into fiction, Hara returns to the activist tradition of The Emperor's Naked Army... for Sennan Asbestos Disaster. Shot over a decade, the documentary follows the dogged efforts of an asbestos-exposed working class community in rural Japan, in their quest to seek recognition and justice from evasive authorities. In the film Hara moves between a mix of direct action protests, meetings with evasive bureaucrats, and intimate portraits of the local residents and activists.
DEDICATION: TWO FILMS BY KAZUO HARA
Vertical Features and the University of Toronto Cinema Studies Institute are proud to host legendary Japanese filmmaker Kazuo Hara for two screenings, including his landmark The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On (1987) and the Canadian Premiere of Sennan Asbestos Disaster (2017). High points in a committed career that has repeatedly sought to confront topics that remain unseen and unaddressed in his home nation - whether in the context of disability, family, health, or histories of his Japan’s wartime past - the films offer parallel, impassioned cries of ‘j’accuse!’ against the powerful and unconcerned.
Thursday 13 June
Doors: 6:30 PM | Screening: 7:00 PM
Innis Town Hall (2 Sussex Ave)
** NOTE SPECIAL VENUE **
Co-presented by the Cinema Studies Institute and Innis College at the University of Toronto.
Kazuo Hara was born in June 1945, Ube City, Yamaguchi Prefecture. He attended Tokyo College of Photography before dropping out to work as support staff at a special education school, where he developed an intense interest in the world of disabled children. In 1972 he founded production company Shissoh Production with Sachiko Kobayashi . Made his directorial debut that same year with documentary film Goodbye CP, about changing relationships between the disabled and the able-bodied. Follow-up Extreme Private Eros: Love Song (1974 ) profiles Hara’s ex-wife Miyuki Takeda, who had left him and moved to Okinawa, including an unassisted childbirth. In 1987, The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On followed former soldier Kenzo Okuzaki’s relentless hounding of his superior officers to hold them accountable for their actions in World War II. It became a huge hit, winning a Best Newcomer Award from the Director’s Guild of Japan, the Berlin International Film Festival’s Caligari Film Award, the Cinéma du Réel's Grand Prix, and many other accolades. 1994 saw the release of A Dedicated Life, an examination of truths and fictions surrounding novelist Mitsuharu Inoue, which topped film magazine Kinema Junpo’s Best 10 list of Japanese films for that year. Presented his first fiction film The Many Faces of Chika in 2005, in which four actresses portray the life of one woman. Retrospectives of his works have been held at international film festivals in Buenos Aires, Montreal, Sheffield, Amsterdam, and elsewhere.
Sachiko Kobayashi was born in June, 1946, Niigata City, Japan. She graduated from Niigata university where she studied Literature. When she was studying script writing in Tokyo, she met with Hara at Hara’s photo exhibition in Ginza Nikon Salon while Hara attended Tokyo College of Photography before dropping out to work as support staff at a special education school, where he developed an intense interest in the world of disabled children. In 1972. Sachiko Kobayashi founded production company, Shisso Production with Kazuo Hara. She produced all of the Hara's films since Goodbye CP (1972) and -cowrote the script of Many Faces of Chika in 2005. In 2017, She
developed and produced Sennan Asbestos Disaster.
Takuya Tsunoda is an Assistant Professor of Japanese film and media in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Columbia University. His primary research centers on the interplay between institutions and media, technologies and socio-cultural practices, various modes of reflexivity, television documentaries and a history and theory of media-centered scientific research in Japan. He is currently working on a book that examines the history of audio-visual education and its relation to the new cinemas of the 1960s in Japan.