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Campaign

by Mark Schilling

Director: Kazuhiro Soda
Language: Japanese with English subtitles in Tokyo

Screened at the 2007 Berlin Film Festival, Kazuhiro Soda’s “Campaign” (opening on June 9) is a funny and revealing cinema verite look at Japanese democracy in action. Minus the usual docu-props of music and narration, Soda’s camera follows political neophyte Kazuhiko Yamauchi as he campaigns for a seat on the Kawaguchi city council in 2005. Though backed by the powerful local Liberal Democratic Party, the engagingly eccentric Yamauchi has to scramble for every vote while jumping through various hoops for LDP bigwigs. Naturally, he rides a sound truck and repeats his name until his voice is a croak.