To say that Hiroshima (1953) is a ‘powerful evocation of the devastation wrought by the world’s first deployment of the atomic bomb and its aftermath’ is both true but also a massive understatement.
Whilst of course I have read about, seen films about and head stories about the devastation caused by the dropping of the bomb on August 6th 1945, and also have seen films that feature the ‘event’ itself. I dont think I had a film showing what it was like from the side of the population of the city on Japan’s Honshu Island. Even though Hiroshima (the film) is a black and white film from the early 1950’s, it loses now of its power on an audience of today. It is a stark brutal emotional film that will haunt you long after the credits have ended.
Based on the written eye-witness accounts of its child survivors compiled by Dr. Arata Osada for the 1951 book Children Of The A Bomb: Testament Of The Boys And Girls Of Hiroshima and adapted for the screen by director Hideo Sekigawa and screenwriter Yasutaro Yagi (Theatre of Life, Rice), Hiroshima combines a harrowing documentary feel with a massively moving human drama, which doesnt hold back on showing the the suffering, the endurance and the sheer will to survive of a group of teachers, their pupils and family members..It boasts a rousing score composed by Akira Ifukube (Godzilla) and an all-star cast including Yumeji Tsukioka (Late Spring, The Eternal Breasts), Isuzu Yamada (Throne of Blood, Yojimbo) and Eiji Okada (Hiroshima Mon Amour, Woman in the Dunes), appearing alongside an estimated 90,000 residents from the city as extras, including many survivors from that fateful day .
The film was produced and distributed outside of the studio system by the Japan Teachers’ Union following the mixed critical reception to Children of Hiroshima (1952), directed by Kaneto Shindo the previous year, the first dramatic feature to deal directly with the atomic bombing. Although sequences from the film were used in Alain Resnais’ classic of French New Wave cinema, Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959), it has been effectively out of circulation in Japan and the rest of the world since its original release in 1953 due to the force and political sensitivity of its message. This new High Definition presentation is the complete version, restoring the footage from the international edit that was released in the United States in 1955.
I always say that a film should entertain, or educate, and if possible, both, However Hiroshima definitely falls into the ‘educate’ side of things as this is far from a popcorn film. this is a film about the horror of one of the most horrific scientific inventions of the 20th century and its a film that you should definitely view.
Special Edition Contents.
• High Definition Blu-ray™ (1080p) presentation
• Original uncompressed audio
• Archive interview with actress Yumeji Tsukioka
• Hiroshima Nagasaki Download (2011), 73-minute documentary featuring interviews
with survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings now residing in the
United States, with an introduction by the director Shinpei Takeda
• New video essay by Jasper Sharp
• Newly commissioned artwork by Scott Saslow