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EXTREME PRIVATE EROS: LOVE SONG 1974 (Kazuo Hara, 1974)- WebTv

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EXTREME PRIVATE EROS: LOVE SONG 1974
Dir. Kazuo Hara, 1974
Japan, 98 min.
In Japanese with English subtitles
TUESDAY, JANUARY 7 – 10:00 PM
SUNDAY, JANUARY 12 – 5:00 PM
MONDAY, JANUARY 27 – 10:00 PM
Shot over several years, Extreme Private Eros: Love Song 1974, a documentary about Hara’s ex-lover was a clarion call against a historically reserved Japanese culture. The film follows Miyuki Takeda, Hara’s ex and father of his son, as she navigates new relationships (first with a woman, and then with an American GI in Okinawa), raises her son, and explores life in 1970s Japan as an outspoken feminist. But the film isn’t just a portrait of the vulnerabilities of a radical feminist single mother, in a time when that wasn’t heard of; Miyuki often takes the opportunity of being filmed by her ex to let loose with what she really thinks about him as a partner, as a lover, and as a filmmaker.
As well as a portrait of two complicated, damaged people, the film is a portrait of Okinawa as a dysfunctional city, damaged by two decades of American military presence. Hara films the GI bars and the underage prostitutes that frequent the bars for business. Hara takes a detour into the life of a 14-year-old “Okinawa girl” Chichi, whose life converges and diverges from Miyuki’s story in intriguing ways.
Released around the same time as the groundbreaking PBS series An American Family (and predating the similarly-themed Sherman’s March by a decade), Extreme Private Eros takes a long, hard look at gender roles, romantic relationships, and what it means to be a family in 1970s Japan. Hara’s out-of-sync sound and hand-held photography are disorienting and intimate at the same time, giving the feel of an experimental film to a film with very real content. The results are bitter and sometimes hard to watch, but always compelling.