Known for making “action documentaries” such as The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On (1987) about iconoclastic individuals with producer Sachiko Kobayashi, Kazuo Hara follows Sennan Asbestos Disaster (JC 2018) with another epic project approaching groups of everyday people banding together to address injustice in contemporary Japan. Taking the newly instated calendar era name Reiwa (“beautiful harmony”), actor-turned-politician Taro Yamamoto (Battle Royale) formed the Reiwa Shinsengumi (“new squad”) party just three months before the July 2019 Japanese House of Councillors election, offering an ambitious leftist platform and staging jubilant political demonstrations with music and horses. Hara follows the party’s diverse slate of candidates including transgender Tokyo University professor Ayumi Yasutomi and disabled politicians Yasuhiko Funago and Eiko Kimura as they interrupt rightwing status quo and widespread political apathy.
“Reiwa Uprising is a compelling character study, but time may prove it to also be an invaluable document of the birth of booming anti-establishment, populist movement in a nation that has been governed almost exclusively by the same party since its 1955 foundation.” —Filmmaker Magazine
Available streaming territory: U.S. only
in Japanese with English subtitles