The use of nuclear weapons in August, 1945 against the civilian populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki gave the world a new nightmare, the indelible image of the mushroom cloud rising above the cities becoming instantly, terribly, iconic. With the threat of mutually-assured destruction coming close to fruition during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 before abating into the decades-long Cold War, the ideas of the bomb, its use, and the aftermath came to occupy a significant place in culture. While American cinema often embraced the subject as representative of the country’s military might, or used it as fodder for cycles of B-movie sci-fi, Japanese cinema attempted to process the horror inflicted upon the country, and Soviet cinema largely shied away from the subject. Directors such as Richard Lester (The Bed Sitting Room, 1969) found grim humour in the subject, of the sort typified by the acronym accorded the doctrine that held use of these weapons in check. As the decades passed, a certain complacency set in, with the ever-present danger being incorporated as a plot device in teen thrillers (WarGames, John Badham, 1983) and romance (Miracle Mile, Steve De Jarnatt, 1988), or even viewed with something close to nostalgia (Matinee, Joe Dante, 1993), although television dramas such as The Day After (1983) and Threads (1984) took a terrifyingly sober look at the subject. Although the idea of a nation state using nuclear weapons has now, despite international tensions, been superseded by the idea of an individual terrorist and a dirty bomb, the possibility remains. This season of films attempts to acknowledge a variety of international perspectives on the subject, and will hopefully offer audiences a valuable understanding of the consequences of what was achieved at Los Alamos in July, 1945.
Multi-film passes available from the IFI Box Office: 3 for €30, 5 for €50, and 12 for €100.
FLORA AND SON
OUSMANE SEMBÈNE: BLACK GIRL + BAROM SARRET
STOP MAKING SENSE 40TH ANNIVERSARY
THE EXORCIST (50TH ANNIVERSARY)
THE OLD OAK
The IFI is supported by The Arts Council