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.

1118 – Hardware (1990)

timespace coordinates: Christmastime in New York City  (21st century, a nuclear war has transformed the Earth into a radioactive wasteland where the sea has dried up leaving it as a post-apocalyptic desert.)

See these mighty buildings. It all shall
be thrown down and shattered to splinters.
The earth will shake, rattle and roll. The
masses will go hungry, their bellies bloat.
These are the birth pains.
No flesh shall be spared. MARK-13 (Read more)

Hardware is a 1990 British science fiction horror film starring Dylan McDermott and Stacey Travis. The film, which was written and directed by Richard Stanley, also features cameos from Iggy Pop and Lemmy. Since its release, it has become a cult film. The film is about a self-repairing robot that goes on a rampage in a post-apocalyptic slum. Fleetway Comics sued the film-makers over the screenplay because it plagiarised a short story entitled “SHOK!” that appeared in 1980 in the Judge Dredd Annual 1981, a spin-off publication of the popular British weekly anthology comic 2000 AD. (wiki)

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1075 – Charlie and his Orchestra

In the twisted annals of the Third Reich, few stories are so improbable as that of “Charlie and his Orchestra.” Even as Nazis campaigned against “degenerate” jazz music, persecuting musicians and throwing “swing kids” into concentration camps, behind the scenes Joseph Goebbels and his Propaganda Ministry were creating a jazz orchestra that would serve up Nazi propaganda backed by the latest music.


Let’s go bombing

You’re Driving Me Crazy 

Elmer’s Tune (German Submarines)

Thanks For The Memory 


wiki: Charlie and his Orchestra (also referred to as the “Templin band” and “Bruno and His Swinging Tigers”) were a Nazi-sponsored German propaganda swing band. Jazz music styles were seen by Nazi authorities as rebellious but, ironically, propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels conceived of using the style in shortwave radio broadcasts aimed initially at the United Kingdom, and later the United States, after the German declaration of war on 11 December 1941.

British listeners heard the band every Wednesday and Saturday at about 9 pm. The importance of the band in the propaganda war was underscored by a BBC survey released after World War II, which indicated that 26.5 percent of all British listeners had at some point heard programmes from Germany. The German Propaganda Ministry also distributed their music on 78 rpm records to POW camps and occupied countries.

Propaganda Swing: Dr. Goebbels’ Jazz Orchestra (1991 documentary)

 


 

1063 – The Pianist (2002)

timespace coordinates: 1939 – 1945 Warsaw  during Nazi Germany‘s invasion of Poland /  Warsaw Ghetto /  the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising /  the Warsaw Uprising

MV5BOWRiZDIxZjktMTA1NC00MDQ2LWEzMjUtMTliZmY3NjQ3ODJiXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjU0OTQ0OTY@._V1_The Pianist is a 2002 biographical drama film produced and directed by Roman Polanski, scripted by Ronald Harwood, and starring Adrien Brody. It is based on the autobiographical book The Pianist, a Holocaust memoir by the Polish-Jewish pianist and composer Władysław Szpilman, a Holocaust survivor. The film was a co-production of France, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Poland.

The story had deep connections with director Roman Polanski because he escaped from the Kraków Ghetto as a child after the death of his mother. He ended up living in a Polish farmer’s barn until the war’s end. His father almost died in the camps, but they reunited after the end of World War II. (wiki)

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