Nipponkoku VS Sennan Ishiwatamura (Sennan Asbestos Disaster). 2017. Japan. Directed and photographed by Kazuo Hara. In Japanese; English subtitles. 215 min.
The asbestos workers of Sennan, in Osaka Prefecture, who come from the lowest rungs of society, have been fighting an agonizingly protracted legal battle with the Japanese government over compensation for deadly respiratory diseases caused by asbestos. Kazuo Hara followed the court case for more than eight years, focusing on several severely afflicted victims, and was left scandalized by the lack of public outrage: “Those who bare their fangs against the powerful are impossible to find,” he observes. “This film is a self-portrait of the ordinary people of Japan, who live in this spineless era we call Heisei.”