a page of madness

film writing by nicholas vroman

Nippon no uso

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Saburo Hasegawa’s new documentary, Nippon no uso, follows the life of photographer Kikujiro Fukushima. The film breaks no new ground in documentary filmmaking. It’s a straightforward hagiography of an important and committed photojournalist. And what a photographer he is! At 91 years old, he’s still out there, taking pics, inspiring youngsters and keeping his political commitments going. Fukushima started shortly after the bombing of Hiroshima, documenting radiation cancer victims. He was at the demonstrations against the expansion of Narita airport, creating some of the most iconic images from those years of protest. The 70s appear to be his heyday, where his Bresson-like images found their meeting of formal concerns, the privileged moment and political commitment. His very personal documentation of early feminism is reason alone to see the film. But testimonies from old friends and comrades to his own amazing commentary and (somewhat set-up) scenes of him at protests and documenting Fukushima (the place) show that the old guy still has his mojo. Nippon no uso is a loving testimony to a great photographer.

Originally published in EL Magazine, August 2012.

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Written by Nicholas Vroman

August 1, 2012 at 4:49 am

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