A Dedicated Life

Director: Kazuo Hara
Year Released: 1994
Rating: 3.0

Hara details the last years of outspoken Japanese novelist Mitsuhara Inoue's life, his battle with cancer, his temper, his womanizing and his somewhat fabricated autobiography. Having never read a word the man wrote - or even heard of him before - put me at an immediate disadvantage, as Hara pretty much assumes you know who he is (I gather he's something of an Eastern John Updike), neglecting to go into much detail about the writings themselves, but what he does show is candid and complex - Inoue's a braggart, a know-it-all and sometimes contemptible, but he's also charismatic and (apparently) very talented. Only Kazuo Hara could make death by cancer seem so nonchalant and unsympathetic - he also made a film about people with cerebral palsy - and present an honest portrayal of what's ultimately a human being, comprised of both strengths and weaknesses.