Made with a righteous political anger that anticipates the incendiary polemics of documentarians such as Michael Moore and Joshua Oppenheimer, Kazuo Hara’s most renowned film is a harrowing confrontation with one of Japanese history’s darkest chapters: the atrocities committed by the country’s military during World War II. Hara’s unforgettable subject and collaborator in The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On is Kenzo Okuzaki—a former soldier, convicted murderer, and defiantly anti-establishment agitator—who has made it his life’s mission to expose the crimes committed by Japanese officers against their own men while stationed in New Guinea. As the often-violent Okuzaki resorts to extreme measures in his crusade to find out the truth about what happened to two soldiers murdered by their commanders, what emerges is at once a shocking piece of investigative journalism, a courageous condemnation of militarism and blind obedience, and a riveting portrait of a single-minded man driven by a raw fury bordering on madness.
With his lush and sensual visuals, pitch-perfect soundtracks, and soulful romanticism, Wong Kar Wai has established himself as one of the defining auteurs of contemporary cinema.
Four charming comedies from Eric Rohmer.
Melvin Van Peebles’s edgy, angsty, romantic first feature could never have been made in America. Unable to break into a segregated Hollywood, Van Peebles decamped to France, taught himself the language, and wrote a number of books in French, one of which, La permission, would become his stylistically innovative feature debut.
Melvin Van Peebles
DCP, Blu-ray, DVD
A triumph at the 2020 Berlin International Film Festival, the revelatory debut feature from codirectors (and twin brothers) Arie and Chuko Esiri is a heartrending and hopeful portrait of everyday human endurance in Lagos, Nigeria.