Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on October 2010

Remarkable, powerful and unpredictable, this debut work by Japanese film subtitler extraordinaire Linda Hoaglund is a triumph. Ostensibly a documentary that examines the 1960 Tokyo protests against the US-Japan security treaty (“ANPO” in colloquial Japanese), the film approaches its subject through stunning artwork that Hoaglund unearthed in her research. Thus, instead of a dry recitation of facts, ANPO: Art X War presents the challenging work of Japanese painters, photographers, graphic artists and videographers, all of whom examine the ANPO problem. Though much historical information is introduced, the doc feels like an up-to-the-minute analysis of contemporary Japan. Little-known (but extraordinary) painters like Shigeo Ishii are presented alongside bigger names like Hiroshi Nakamura, Tadanori Yokoo and Eikoh Hosoe (some of who appear in the film). Hoaglund says that, just as she derives strength by Martin Luther King’s struggles for greater equality in America, she hopes this film will inspire Japanese by showing them their history and artistic achievements. Note: on Sundays, the final screening will have English subtitles. (89 min)