Hiroshima No Pika/Hellfire
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
- Nicholas Sheffo