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White Light/Black Rain

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Author Topic: White Light/Black Rain  (Read 124 times)
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« on: August 08, 2007, 03:45:48 pm »

   Atomic bomb survivors share stories in HBO film.
Story Highlights
HBO will air a documentary on survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

The two cities in Japan were bombed by the U.S. in 1945, ending World War II

14 survivors and crew members who dropped the bomb are interviewed

So far, there has been very little reaction to the film

NEW YORK (AP) -- HBO's disturbing documentary on survivors of the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan didn't make the 50th anniversary of the event.

HBO's "White Light/Black Rain" is the story of survivors of two Japanese cities reduced to rubble by atomic bombs.

 There's apparently enough emotional scar tissue built up to allow the television premiere of "White Light/Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki" on Monday (7:30 p.m. Eastern), exactly 62 years after the United States detonated the first-ever nuclear bomb over Hiroshima. The second, and so far last, atomic bomb was dropped three days later. It ended World War II.

The uncomfortable footage of cities reduced to rubble and grotesquely deformed survivors has received relatively little circulation because -- unlike the well-recorded Holocaust -- this was something done by Americans, Sheila Nevins, head of HBO's documentary unit, said.

Steve Okazaki's film is built on stories told by 14 survivors, with children's pictures depicting the bombing and footage of the injured that was banned from the public for 25 years. The American-born Okazaki interviews crew members who dropped the bombs and wondered whether they would escape before their planes were engulfed in the mushroom cloud.

The project dates back to the early 1980s, when Okazaki agreed to accompany his sister to a San Francisco, California, area meeting of bomb survivors for a school project she was doing.  Watch Steve Okazaki talk about making the movie

Everyone at the meeting agreed Okazaki should make a film about their stories.

He made a short film and others that showed his interest in the era, including the Oscar-winning "Days of Waiting," about one of the few white Americans held in custody with Japanese-Americans during World War II.

Other movies about this event
1970s film "Hiroshima Mon Amour"

1989 film "Kuroi ame (Black Rain)"

1946 book "Hiroshima" by John Hersey
Okazaki wanted to make a comprehensive documentary about the experience of living through the bombings and began doing it for PBS in the mid-1990s. But the project fell through. He instead made a more personal film, "The Mushroom Club," figuring his dream was dead.

That's when he heard from Nevins.

"I was shocked when they called and said they wanted to do this film and when they described it, I realized it was the film I had wanted to do for 25 years," he said.

When he attended a festival of bombing-related films in the 1980s, Okazaki was struck by how little survivors were heard from. People had an aversion; it was much easier to debate whether dropping bombs that instantly killed more than 200,000 people was right or wrong.

Theodore "Dutch" Van Kirk, navigator of the plane that dropped the Hiroshima bomb, is among those who believe it was necessary to end the war.

"The story about the survivors of this has been told many, many times," Van Kirk, 86, said about Okazaki's film. "It doesn't change. And this is just another story about survivors. I don't think there will be much reaction to it at all."

There were no advance protests. Nevins is curious about how it will be received after what she thought was a strangely dry-eyed reception at a Sundance Film Festival screening. "It was well-received intellectually but it wasn't well-received emotionally," she said.

Other than documenting the horror of war, the film carefully takes no sides on the morality of dropping the bomb. Okazaki even refuses to say how he personally feels about it.

Something Okazaki found mystifying, and a barrier to his research, was the lingering stigma faced by bomb survivors in Japan. Perhaps it's because they remind Japanese of a time they'd rather forget; it was never fully explained to him. When he sought to interview the "Hiroshima Maidens," girls who came to the United States in the 1950s for surgery on disfigurements, the only one who'd talk was a woman who now lives in the United States.

Okazaki also found a plaque where the Nagasaki bomb detonated that said everyone within a one kilometer area was killed instantly -- except an 8-year-old girl who had fallen asleep in a bomb shelter.

He tracked her down and she refused a meeting.

"Her husband only knew that she was a survivor and she felt that (being in the film) would hurt her husband's business and her children's job opportunities," he said. "So the story will never be told." E-mail to a friend

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2007, 03:46:35 pm by Chastity » Report Spam   Logged

"Man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity." - Ecclesiastes 3:19-20

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« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2007, 03:53:32 pm »

Today is the 52nd anniversary of dropping the atomic bomb on Nagasaki, the last atomic bomb dropped.

Today's nuclear weapons are many times more powerful, capable of even more destruction.  Incredibly, one of the issues in the presidential campaign is whether we should use nuclear weapons again or not. Have people learned nothing??
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"Man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity." - Ecclesiastes 3:19-20
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