Monday, August 30, 2010

"Film shows Japan-U.S. security from artists' viewpoints"

From today's Japan Today:

A documentary film on Japan’s tumultuous postwar history since signing the 1960 security treaty with the United States will be released next month, featuring the works and first-person accounts of artists and writers looking back on the era.

Director Linda Hoaglund, a Japan-born American who describes the bilateral ties under the treaty as unnatural, said she will be happy if her film "Anpo" can offer people who watch it "a chance to think about what kind of future they want to build."

It is the first film directed by Hoaglund, who has for years handled English subtitles for about 200 films, including those directed by Akira Kurosawa and Hayao Miyazaki.

Besides being screened in Tokyo and Yokohama from Sept 18 as well as other Japanese cities such as Sendai, Osaka and Naha—the capital of Okinawa Prefecture, Anpo will have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, which opens next month.

The 89-minute documentary is arriving at cinemas at a sensitive time for the two countries, with the planned relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station within Okinawa pitting the Japanese and U.S. governments against the islanders, who oppose the move.

“Anpo,” which draws its title from an abbreviated Japanese term for the bilateral security arrangements, depicts the tumultuous era, in which violent demonstrations erupted on campuses and elsewhere against the treaty’s revision, mainly through interviews with artists such as painter Tadanori Yokoo and singer Tokiko Kato and the introduction of their creations.

The film also shows U.S. military bases in Okinawa and Yokosuka as they are today as a way to showcase the security alliance over the last half century. Okinawa hosts the bulk of U.S. military facilities in Japan and Yokosuka, a port city south of Tokyo, hosts the U.S. naval force headquarters in Japan.

"What kind of relationship have the United States, which dropped atomic bombs (on Japan), and Japan, which was defeated in the war, built in the postwar era? Present in making this film was this question of what was happening in the background of my life," said Hoaglund.

On the dispute over the relocation of the Futenma base, the director suggested that Japanese people can decide how they want to settle it. "It’s up to the Japanese people to change the current situation," she said.

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