Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Extreme Private Eros Love Song 1974|
Director: Kazuo Hara
Genres: Indie & Art House, Documentary
In this intensely intimate documentary, filmmaker Kazuo Hara offers a portrait of a complex, strong-willed woman named Takeda Miyuki--his former lover. A feminist and bisexual in 1970s Japan, Miyuki is a maverick in a rigi... more »
Into the meat of the matter
Daitokuji31 | Black Glass | 06/03/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In 1972 Hara's lover, and mother of his child, Takeda Miyuki ended their relationship. At first Miyuki met with Hara at least once a week, but soon decided to take her son and move from Tokyo to Okinawa. Devastated by their break up, Hara decided to go to Okinawa and film Miyuki in her daily life in order to make sense of their break up, but instead he ended up creating a documentary about the woman he loved, but also a documentary on some of the seedier aspects of 1970s Japan.
During his first trip to Okinawa, Hara learns that Miyuki is shacking up with another woman named Sugako and that their relationship is somewhat on the rocks because Sugako slept with an American soldier named Tommy. They eventually make up, but Sugako leaves Miyuki some ten days later. On his second trip to Okinawa, Hara learns that Miyuki is sleeping with a black American soldier named Paul. With little knowledge in spoken English and with Paul being unable to say "yes" in Japanese, the two can barely communicate with each other, but this does not prevent Miyuki becoming pregnant with a mixed blood child that she is determined to bring up by herself. Paul leaves her some three weeks later. On his third trip to Okinawa, Hara brings along his girlfriend/producer Kobayashi Sachiko and there is some tension between the two women because it seems that Miyuki, although she does not want to be with Hara herself, does not want other women to be with him either, and so the story continues.
I was first introduced to Hara's films nearly three years ago when I saw his excellent documentary The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On (1987) which depicted a few days in the life of Okuzaki Kenzo, a World War II veteran who had fought in New Guinea, who later shot ball bearings in a sling shot at the Emperor, and dedicated his life, what part was not spent in prison, seeking confessions from fellow war veterans concerning the war atrocities they had committed even after Japan surrendered. Extreme Private Eros Love Song 1974 is a much more personal story of a man trying to learn more about the woman who left him, but what truly comes to the fore is the strength within the being of Takeda Miyuki. While her lifestyle choices might not have conformed to the norms of society, she was determined to live her own life and break the mold of group conformity. Also, even when her life choices seemed to have backfired, she fought along even handing out hand-written pamphlets warning them not to sleep with black soldiers. Her efforts resulted in Hara being beaten up by some local gangsters.
Filmed completely in black and white on a budget amounting to little more than what one might find within one's couch cushions, Extreme Private Eros might be a bit jarring to some viewers because the audio track is rarely synced with the film, so the film at some points is similar to watching a poorly dubbed film. Also, there are two births within the film which show everything. A good film for those interested in Japanese documentary films which sadly are still quite rare in the West, this film offers the viewer a rare glimpse of Japan during the 1970s."