Video Librarian Review – “Highly Recommended”

November/December 2011 (Volume 26, Issue 6)

ANPO: Art x War ***1/2
(2011) 89 min. DVD: $95: public libraries & high schools; $275: colleges &
universities. New Day Films. PPR. ISBN: 978-1-56592-479-6.

Linda Hoaglund’s documentary focuses on the 1960 controversy surrounding the
renewal of the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security -also
known as ANPO-which allowed the U.S. to continue operating nearly 100
military bases across Japan. Significant opposition developed throughout
Japan, but Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi (who had none-too-covert backing
from the CIA) successfully routed his opponents in parliament and ordered
police to use force in putting down public demonstrations staged in Tokyo.
The animosity towards Kishi and the continued presence of American troops
became so intense that a planned state visit by U.S. President Dwight D.
Eisenhower had to be cancelled; Kishi resigned shortly afterwards, his
political career effectively over. Hoaglund examines the 1960 protests
through the creative work and commentary of visual artists who were either
participants or used the events of five decades ago to shape their artistic
output and political philosophy. ANPO features loads of artwork that puts
the U.S. military in a harshly unflattering light (several paintings have
not been publicly displayed in many years), supplemented by vintage newsreel
and photojournalist coverage of the conflict. Present-day American troops
also offer comments as Hoaglund shoots her film. A fascinating documentary
dealing with the development of post-WWII Japan and the history of U.S.
military involvement in Asia, this is highly recommended.

Aud: C, P. (P. Hall)

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