1179 – The Atomic Cafe (1982)

timespace coordinates: 1940s, 1950s and early 1960s United States, the Marshall Islands

The Atomic Cafe is a 1982 American documentary film produced and directed by Jayne LoaderKevin Rafferty and Pierce RaffertyIn 2016, the film was selected for preservation in the United States’ National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

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The film covers the beginnings of the era of nuclear warfare, created from a broad range of archival material from the 1940s, 1950s and early 1960s including newsreel clips, television news footage, U.S. government-produced films (including military training films), advertisements, television and radio programs. News footage reflected the prevailing understanding of the media and public.

Though the topic of atomic holocaust is a grave matter, The Atomic Cafe approaches it with black humor. Much of the humor derives from the modern audience’s reaction to the old training films, such as the Duck and Cover film shown in schools.

The Atomic Cafe was released at the height of nostalgia and cynicism in America. By 1982, Americans lost much of their faith in their government following the Vietnam War, the Watergate scandal, and the seemingly never-ending arms race with the Soviet UnionThe Atomic Cafe reflects and reinforces this idea as it exposes how the atomic bomb’s dangers were downplayed and how the government used films to shape public opinion.

the-atomic-cafe-cartaz-original-cinema-D_NQ_NP_790329-MLB26502423408_122017-FBob Mielke, in “Rhetoric and Ideology in the Nuclear Test Documentary” (Film Quarterly) discusses the release of The Atomic Cafe: “This satire feature was released at the height of the nuclear freeze movement (which was in turn responding to the Reagan administration’s surreal handling of the arms race.)”

lfPatricia Aufderheide, in Documentary Film: A Very Short Introduction touches on the significance of The Atomic Cafe as a window into the past of government propaganda and disinformation during the years following the advent of the Atomic Bomb. “Propaganda, also known as disinformation, public diplomacy, and strategic communication, continues to be an important tool for governments. But stand-alone documentary is no longer an important part of public relations campaigns aimed at the general public.” (wiki)

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Bikini Atoll

Because the site bears direct tangible evidence of the nuclear tests conducted there amid the paradoxical tropical location, UNESCO determined that the atoll symbolizes the dawn of the nuclear age and named it a World Heritage Site on 3 August 2010.

Bikini Atoll has conserved direct tangible evidence … conveying the power of … nuclear tests, i.e. the sunken ships sent to the bottom of the lagoon by the tests in 1946 and the gigantic Bravo crater. Equivalent to 7,000 times the force of the Hiroshima bomb, the tests had major consequences on the geology and natural environment of Bikini Atoll and on the health of those who were exposed to radiation. Through its history, the atoll symbolises the dawn of the nuclear age, despite its paradoxical image of peace and of earthly paradise.

1177 – Fukushima: A Nuclear Story (2015 Documentary, News)

“A four-year long journey in the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster and twofold tragedy that befell Japan in the March 2011, directed by Matteo Gagliardi, written by Christine Reinhold, Matteo Gagliardi e Pio d’Emilia.  (…) “Fukushima: A Nuclear Story” offers a completely original point of view on the tragedy, narrated by the actor Willem Dafoe in the English version.

MV5BNzMwNzE3Mzg1N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDQ5ODIxNjE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,700,1000_AL_Christine Reinhold and Matteo Gagliardi combine different elements in the film: The story of a journalist, Pio d’Emilia, who refused to abandon his job even when the nuclear danger was at its greatest; the doubts and fears of man in the days following the threefold tragedy; the search for the truth regarding what really happened inside the Fukushima Daiichi plant. The former prime minister Naoto Kan, in a previously unreleased interview, will reveal how Tokyo, and probably the whole of Japan, avoided a much bigger tragedy thanks to sheer luck.

The director describes the tragic events using Manga Drawings, to make them more comprehensible to our perception (…)” – vimeo

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see also https://timespacewarps.wordpress.com/2018/11/29/868-william-t-vollmann/

1152 – Samsara (2011 documentary)

Samsara is a 2011 American non-narrative documentary film of international imagery directed by Ron Fricke and produced by Mark Magidson. Samsara was filmed over a period of five years in 25 different countries around the world.

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The official website describes the film, “Expanding on the themes they developed in Baraka (1992) and Chronos (1985), Samsara explores the wonders of our world from the mundane to the miraculous, looking into the unfathomable reaches of humanity’s spirituality and the human experience. Neither a traditional documentary nor a travelogue, Samsara takes the form of a nonverbal, guided meditation.” (wiki)

imdb   /   fantasy_coffins   /   819 – Olivier de Sagazan

1149 – LOVE DEATH + ROBOTS (TV series 2019– )

Love, Death & Robots (stylized as LOVE DEATH + ROBOTS) is an American adult animated anthology web television series on Netflix.  The 18-episode first season was released on March 15, 2019. The series is produced by Joshua DonenDavid Fincher, Jennifer Miller, and Tim Miller. Each episode was animated by different crews from a range of countries. The series is a re-imagining of Fincher and Miller’s long in-development reboot of the 1981 animated science fiction film Heavy Metal. 

MV5BMTc1MjIyNDI3Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjQ1OTI0NzM@._V1_The cast includes Mary Elizabeth WinsteadTopher GraceGary ColeSamira Wiley and Stefan Kapičić, with Grace and Winstead appearing in live-action roles, rather than animated.

In March 2019, Netflix revealed that it was experimenting with a new approach by including a different order of episodes to different users.  (*four unique episode orders, released to users at random.) (wiki)

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1146 – Baraka (1992)

Baraka is a 1992 non-narrative documentary film directed by Ron Fricke. The film is often compared to Koyaanisqatsi, the first of the Qatsi films by Godfrey Reggio for which Fricke served as the cinematographer. It is also the most recent film to be photographed in the 70mm Todd-AO format, and the first film ever to be restored and scanned at 8K resolution. (wiki)

Named after a Sufi word that translates roughly as “breath of life” or “blessing,” Baraka is Ron Fricke‘s impressive follow-up to Godfrey Reggio‘s non-verbal documentary film Koyaanisqatsi. Fricke was cinematographer and collaborator on Reggio’s film, and for Baraka he struck out on his own to polish and expand the photographic techniques used on Koyaanisqatsi. The result is a tour-de-force in 70mm: a cinematic “guided meditation” (Fricke’s own description) shot in 24 countries on six continents over a 14-month period that unites religious ritual, the phenomena of nature, and man’s own destructive powers into a web of moving images. Fricke’s camera ranges, in meditative slow motion or bewildering time-lapse, over the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, the Ryoan-Ji temple in Kyoto, Lake Natron in Tanzania, burning oil fields in Kuwait, the smoldering precipice of an active volcano, a busy subway terminal, tribal celebrations of the Maasai in Kenya, chanting monks in the Dip Tse Chok Ling monastery…and on and on, through locales across the globe. To execute the film’s time-lapse sequences, Fricke had a special camera built that combined time-lapse photography with perfectly controlled movements of the camera. In one evening sequence a desert sky turns black, and the stars roll by, as the camera moves slowly forward under the trees. The feeling is like that of viewing the universe through a powerful telescope: that we are indeed on a tiny orb hurtling through a star-filled void. The film is complemented by the hybrid world-music of Michael Stearns. ~ Anthony Reed, Rovi (rottentomatoes)

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