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Meeting Filmmakers for “Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On”

Date: May 11, 2007

As previously discussed, I’m visiting the University of Chicago this week, doing two public lectures and two classroom appearances. Yesterday I went to a reception/dinner with students at the Center for East Asian Studies, where I unexpectedly met Kazuo Hara and Sachiko Kobayashi, the director and producer respectively of cult documentary film, “Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On” (read about it here).

I’ve only seen a small segment of the film, but as you can see from the description, the film is so provocative and unusual that I was almost shocked to find both Hara and Kobayashi to be quite reasonable, likeable individuals. I ended up chatting with them about how expensive and tiresome it had been to produce films in the past and how the availability of cheap video cameras and editing environments are changing the field of filmmaking, etc. Kobayashi-san also seemed to be interested in my work around disability and feminism, as she herself is disabled (I’m not sure if that’s how she’d describe, but you get the idea). I’ll have to see the entire film (and any other film of theirs that I can get hold of) once I get back to PDX…

As I go back to Portland this weekend, Hara and Kobayashi will be in Michigan showing some of their films at the University of Michigan, and there will also be a public talk session between Hara and Michael Moore, who has praised “Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On” which he saw while working on his first film, “Roger & Me.” Now that’d be interesting… I wish I were there.

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