Kazuhiro Soda’s documentary Campaign screened at SXSW 2007 in the Documentary Competition. And, on February 13, he and the film are coming back as part of the Austin Film Society’s Doc Tour. This is an exceedingly entertaining and awe-inspiring look at one Japanese city council election, with very big implications. From the AFS Web site:
In the fall of 2005, 40-year-old, self-employed Kazuhiko “Yama-san” Yamauchi’s peaceful, humdrum life was turned upside-down. Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) had suddenly chosen him as its official candidate to run for a vacant seat on the Kawasaki city council. Yama-san had zero experience in politics, no charisma, no supporters, no constituency, and no time to prepare for the impending election.
The election was critical for the LDP. Yama-san’s loss would automatically oust the LDP from its position as the dominant political party on the council. Thus, the LDP forms a strong campaign team consisting of every LDP politician from the Kawasaki region to fight the intense battle against the party’s opponents-all veterans of the Democratic Party, the Communist Party, and the Kanagawa Network.