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Category:    Home > Reviews > Art > Political > History > World War II > Hiroshima No Pika/Hellfire

Hiroshima No Pika/Hellfire


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C+     Main Programs: B-



Dropping atomic bombs or any other kind of bombs is a bad thing, but it is sometimes a necessary evil.  One of the biggest debates is over the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  For this new DVD from First Run Features, Hiroshima is the focus for two programs.  Hiroshima No Pika (2005) is a half-hour piece by narrated by Susan Sarandon based on a series of beautifully rendered artworks and tale of what happened when the nuclear bomb “Little Boy” was dropped on Hiroshima.


Of course, it omits that The United States was afraid of 100,000+ soldier casualties or that Japan might become Communist, or that Japanese Militarism was part of the original Axis Of Evil joining Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy to take over the world to create an endless nightmare.  Instead, the U.S. is some evil force that just happened to bomb Japan for no reason, which is dangerous revisionist history.  In all that, the program is still a good piece of work that makes the experience accessible to children.  Unfortunately, there is a valid claim that it also serves as slanted propaganda.


Hellfire: A Journey From Hiroshima (1986) is about the artistic collaboration by Iri & Toshi Maruki and their remarkable Hiroshima Murals.  They have the history and experience to express this since they lived through the experience.  Later, their art expanded to other historical events and the hour-long program catches what an amazing achievement their art is far beyond their passing.  It also does not have the historical lapse(s) of the first work.  Both are worth your time.


The full frame image on Hiroshima No Pika is videotaped, while Hellfire was filmed.  The film shows its age a bit, while the tape limits of the Sarandon piece are more obvious.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 is simple stereo at best with no surrounds in either case.  Extras include a stills section of the Maruki’s work, an activism page by Sarandon, four text biographies (three of the filmmakers, one of The Marukis) and a trailers section for five other First Run releases.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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