A documentary following Kenzo Okuzaki, a 62-year-old WW2 veteran notorious for his protests against Emperor Hirohito, as he tries to expose the needless executions of two Japanese soldiers during the war.
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This documentary was five years in the making, and revolves around 62-year-old Okuzaki Kenzo, a survivor of the battlefields of New Guinea in World War II who gained notoriety by slingshooting steel pinballs at Emperor Showa to protest against what he considered to be the ruler's war crimes. Setting out to conduct interviews with survivors and relatives, he finds the truth of the past to be elusive, achieving a breakthrough only when he confronts ex-Sergeant Yamada, who grudgingly admits the occurrence and instructional source of certain atrocities. Written by
There are always so many sides in a war, so many stories, so many angles. We come to think of these conflicts as just one side against another, with not much in between. The facts remain the same: the people who order these wars rarely, if ever, go to fight them. Who fight for them is the average man, either by conviction or force or a combination of both. This film is a view on the struggle of what was once an average man, who saw death and destruction, and just wants answers regarding the fate of his friends in a senseless conflict.
We follow him on his daily routine, his ritual of going to the streets and protest. In a society that punishes the will of the individual, that thinks remaining in silence is the right thing to do, our protagonist is seeing as an odd fellow. His countrymen just want to forget about this chapter in their history, they want to bury any memory regarding these events. Bury them for good, him included, but this man won't rest until he has his truth, no matter what, no matter the cost.
At many points during the film we will see him going into passive-aggressive outbursts, his frustration is contagious. The people he encounter avoid him with the most obtuse answers "i don't remember, i don't know, i wasn't there". When the man snaps and starts kicking another person you might not support his actions, but you can understand why he's doing it.
Hard to follow at times, but hard to stop watching it, this is a highly engaging docummentary. A naked emperor and his naked army marched once for empty promises made to an entire nation. History won't forget about this, no matter how hard some try to.
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