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.

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)

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923 – Home (2009)


Home is a 2009 French documentary film by Yann Arthus-Bertrand. The film is almost entirely composed of aerial shots of various places on Earth. It shows the diversity of life on Earth and how humanity is threatening the ecological balance of the planet. The English version was read by Glenn Close.000001151886The film was financed by Kering, a French multinational holding company specializing in retail shops and luxury brands, as part of their public relations strategy. (wiki)mv5bmtewnwe3mwetntmxms00ymmylwexzdqtzgfmnwzkodkwngzlxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymtqxnzmzndi@._v1_Yann Arthus-Bertrand said in a TED talk that the movie has no copyright.

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922 – A Beautiful Planet (2016 documentary)

.beautifulplanet posterA Beautiful Planet is a 2016 American documentary film that explores Earth by showing IMAX footage that was recorded over the course of fifteen months by astronauts aboard the International Space Station. The filmmakers who created the movie and the astronauts who filmed it and starred in it intended to help viewers experience the awe and wonder that come from looking down on our planet from space. It is narrated by Academy Award winning actress Jennifer Lawrence; she has called A Beautiful Planet “a love letter to Earth.” 

The film also examines some of the daily experiences of the astronauts, who represent the respective space agencies for the United States, Russia, Europe, and Japan. This multinational crew lives and works on the Space Station, an orbiting symbol of cutting edge technology and peaceful international cooperation which is presented as “a truly awesome example of what we can achieve when we work together.” (wiki)

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921 – Pandora (2016)

timespace coordinates: 2010’s small South Korean townpandora 2016 posterPandora (Hangul판도라RRPandora) is a 2016 South Korean disaster film written and directed by Park Jung-woo. Jae-Hyeok (Kim Nam-Gil) struggles to save his family and country from a nuclear meltdown. (rt   /   wiki)   imdb


“watching the safety of (the) nuclear power plant with my big eyes” — captioning a picture of a small boy making pretend-binoculars with his hands. Fukushima Prefectural Nuclear Power Public Relations Association, 1986, in response to the Chernobyl accident   868