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.

1058 – Tropic Thunder (2008)

timespace coordinates: 2000’s VietnamGolden TriangleMV5BNDE5NjQzMDkzOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODI3ODI3MQ@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,711,1000_AL_Tropic Thunder is a 2008 action comedy film directed by Ben Stiller. It stars Stiller, Jack BlackRobert Downey Jr.Jay Baruchel, and Brandon T. Jackson as a group of prima donna actors who are making a Vietnam War film. When their frustrated director (played by Steve Coogan) drops them in the middle of a jungle, they are forced to rely on their acting skills to survive the real action and danger.

The film had an extensive marketing promotion, including faux websites for the three main characters and their fictional films, airing a fictional television special, and selling the energy drink advertised in the film, “Booty Sweat”.

The film received generally positive reviews, with critics praising the film’s characters, story, faux trailers, and the performances of Stiller, Downey, Black and Tom Cruise, though the depiction of the mentally handicapped and usage of blackface makeup were seen as controversial. (wiki)


imdb   /   rottentomatoes


Tropic Thunder: Rain of Madness (2008) – A behind-the-scenes mockumentary of Tropic Thunder.

Tugg Speedman, Action Hero


836 – American Gangster (2007)

timespace coordinates: 1968 – 1975 Harlem / Golden Triangle

American Gangster is a 2007 American biographical crime film directed and produced by Ridley Scott and written by Steven Zaillian. The film is fictionally based on the criminal career of Frank Lucas, a gangster from La Grange, North Carolina who smuggled heroin into the United States on American service planes returning from the Vietnam War, before being detained by a task force led by detective Richie Roberts. The film stars Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe in their first lead acting roles together since 1995’s Virtuosity. The film also co-stars Ted LevineJohn OrtizJosh BrolinChiwetel EjioforNorman ReedusRuby DeeLymari Nadal and Cuba Gooding Jr. Frank Lucas and Richie Roberts were on-set consultants to director Ridley Scott and the crew throughout filming.

accuracy of the film   /   imdb


“I wanted to be rich. I wanted to be Donald Trump rich, and so help me God, I made it.” Frank Lucas

813 – American Pop (1981)

timespace coordinates: 1890s – 1970’s New York City – Kansas – CaliforniaMV5BNDIwZTcxMGMtN2U5Mi00ZDU3LWE1ZTktMjllZjNhNTFiNDQwL2ltYWdlL2ltYWdlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNzc5MjA3OA@@._V1_American Pop is a 1981 American adult animated musical drama film starring Ron Thompson and produced and directed by Ralph Bakshi. It was the fourth animated feature film to be presented in Dolby sound. The film tells the story of four generations of a Russian Jewish immigrant family of musicians whose careers parallel the history of American popular music in the 20th century.MV5BM2Y4MGVhNjAtZTA4Zi00YWJmLTk0MGUtOWZhODVlZTI4N2Q0XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjUyNDk2ODc@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,999_AL_The majority of the film’s animation was completed through rotoscoping, a process in which live actors are filmed and the subsequent footage is used for animators to draw over. However, the film also uses a variety of other mixed media including water colors, computer graphics, live-action shots, and archival footage. (wiki)BAKSHI-11imdb

605 – The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution (2015)

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The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution is a 2015 American documentary film directed and written by Stanley Nelson Jr. The film combines archival footage and interviews with surviving Panthers and FBI agents to tell the story of the revolutionary black organization Black Panther Party. It is Nelson Jr.’s eighth film to premiere at Sundance. The film is the first of a three-part series of documentary films about African-American history America Revisited. It will be followed by Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and The Slave Trade: Creating a New World.

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580 – Watchmen (2009)

spacetime coordinates: 1985 New York City WatchmenTheatricalposterWatchmen is a 2009 American superhero film directed by Zack Snyder, based on the 1986–87 DC Comics limited series of the same name by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. It stars an ensemble cast of Malin ÅkermanBilly CrudupMatthew GoodeCarla GuginoJackie Earle HaleyJeffrey Dean Morgan, and Patrick Wilson. A dark satirical and dystopian take on the superhero genre, the film is set in an alternate history in the year 1985 at the height of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, as a group of mostly retired American superheroes investigates the murder of one of their own before uncovering an elaborate and deadly conspiracy, while their moral limitations are challenged by the complex nature of the circumstances.

The “Ultimate Cut” edition incorporated the animated comic Tales of the Black Freighter into the narrative as it was in the original graphic novel, lengthening the runtime to 3 hours and 35 minutes.

imdb   wiki

515 – Street Trash (1987)

 spacetime coordinates: 1980s  Greenpoint, Brooklyn, New York CityStreet_Trash_posterStreet Trash is a 1987 American black comedy body horror film directed by J. Michael Muro (credited as Jim Muro). It won the Silver Raven at the Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film. The film has acquired a status as a cult classic independent horror-comedy and is one of a number of films known as “melt movies”

Roy Frumkes wrote the screenplay. In an NBR profile he later said: “I wrote it to democratically offend every group on the planet, and as a result the youth market embraced it as a renegade work, and it played midnight shows.”

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0094057/