POV: Campaign (PBS)
Campaign is not politics as usual. Kazuhiro Soda’s beautifully photographed documentary focuses on an old university classmate of his, Kazuhiko Yamauchi, who was plucked from obscurity by Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to run for a city council seat in a Tokyo suburb. It quickly becomes clear that the qualities the LDP values most, especially in a first-time candidate, are willingness to adhere to party dictates and hierarchy and the ability to project an appealing humility to voters. Yamauchi may have minimal charisma and know little of the issues, but he’s earnest, pleasant and deferential to the point of obsequiousness. His efforts to engage indifferent constituents at senior centers, sporting events and train stations may be painfully funny, but his handlers’ insistence that he just repeat his name and party affiliation at every opportunity and leave the rest to them proves to be disconcertingly shrewd. For insight into another political system that makes us see our own differently, a Peabody Award goes to P.O.V.: Campaign.
Executive producer: Simon Kilmurry, P.O.V. Producer, Director, Writer, Editor, Director of Photography: Kazuhiro Soda.
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