HIROSHIMA BLU RAY REVIEW

John Hersey Hiroshima documented the events of the first atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima. In that book, it was the plain, ordinary remembrances of six people that left horrors to forever be remembered.  Hideo Sekigawa film HIROSHIMA based much of its content on 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. Through this visual devastation, comes an emotional one that is almost inescapable.

Less than a decade after the bomb, obliterated Hiroshima, schools across the region are seeing children suffering from cancers and lesions.  In documenting this, it becomes clear that the effects of the bomb both physical and physiological, have to be addressed. The events of that fateful day are relived and reexamined by children and adults alike. They cant escape its power but maybe it can resolve the painful suffering that awaits them.

BLACK RAIN (Not Ridley Scotts film of the same year but Shohei Imamura’s Hiroshima one), traversed the path of survivor remembrance. It was powerful, persistent and pertinent. Hideo Sekigawa film is not only as equally important but it is also equally pertinent. In an age of egos as leaders and strong man politics, you have a film about the effect of war and its machines.  It is anti war and I am not. Yes I must admit that the use of the bomb was seen as a way of shortening the war and not killing (an estimated) 1 million Japanese citizens and 250,000 American soldiers. This said, the event depicted here with clarity, reveal that this rational is empty. I can also agree with the arguement proposed about race and if the same would have befitted the German armies. This is  the gut punch of the piece for a current audience. Black Lives Matter and in this act, are we still not clear of the logic of it?

THE DISC

The film has suffered.  It is fragmented in places and in others damaged by time and not being in general distribution.  Arrow have tried and achieved an admirable release here, for all its flaws.

EXTRAS

The best part of the release is the Hiroshima Nagasaki Download (2011). Survivors recount stories about the event in a way that is clear eyed and it slowly defused compassion. New video essay by Jasper Sharp is also worth checking out. He frames the film and the event into a coherent, Japanese response. He knows his stuff and this is to his benefit.

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

 

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Mick Broderick

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