White Light, Black Rain
White Light, Black Rain The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki DVD - 2007

Steven Okazaki’s documentary on the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is resolutely apolitical, concentrating instead on the recollections of everyday civilians who witnessed the horrors of atomic warfare firsthand and lived to tell about it. Now in their 60’s and beyond, these survivors bear the obvious physical scars of their ordeal, but it is the deeper wounds, both spiritual and psychological, that still seem to generate the most pain. You can only listen in silence as they tell their various stories such as the two children who watched their mother’s incinerated corpse crumble to dust, or the young girl who escaped the raging fires by wading into a river choked with burned bodies. Okazaki supplements the interviews by showing newsreel footage of the bombs’ aftermath as well as nightmarish drawings made by the victims themselves as they tried to express their memories on paper. It is interesting to note that none of them show any animosity towards the United States. Their anger is aimed instead at the Japanese government which ignored them, and their fellow citizens who shunned them. Many of them continue to feel as if they are outsiders, forgotten by the younger generations and politely ignored by everyone else. Sad, insightful, and completely captivating.

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