Extreme Private Eros: Love Song 1974 is as difficult to analyze as it is challenging to watch; this deeply personal documentary resides in the gray area between self-reflection and self-indulgence.
The subject is director Kazuo Hara’s often turbulent relationship with his ex-wife, radical feminist Miyuki Takeda. The opening narration explicitly describes the film as a cathartic exercise—a medium via which Hara intends to explore and exorcise his unresolved emotions. As you can probably imagine, this makes for a profoundly uncomfortable and thoroughly unpleasant viewing experience—especially when you consider the fact that the project was produced by Sachiko Kobayashi, Hara's (then pregnant) girlfriend. Indeed, as the title would suggest, the graphic content and gritty visual style make the viewer feel like a voyeur—an intruder violating the privacy of the participants—with the extended (and, mercifully, out-of-focus) sequence in which Takeda gives birth on camera sans professional medical assistance standing out in particular.
In short, Extreme Private Eros is a transgressive masterpiece that I won’t soon forget... but I never want to see or think about it ever again.