Message From Hiroshima

Cinema Libre Studio

Reviewed by: Tami Smith, Guest Reviewer for Shockya

Grade: B

Directed & written by: Masaaki Tanabe

Cast: George Takei

Screened at: Critics’ link, NYC, 8/18/15

During the early 1990s I visited an aviation museum in the outskirts of Albuquerque, New Mexico where I watched an old and torn war propaganda film dealing with the ”benefits” of the atomic bomb, dropped over Hiroshima, Japan on August 6th, 1945. Throughout the years many films have been produced about the subject, with opinions about “benefits” sprinting on both sides of the spectrum.

Message From Hiroshima, a documentary narrated by George Takei, does not deal with these issues, but does give us a glance of the lives and culture of Hiroshima’s Nakajima district before that fateful day. Nakajima was an area densely populated by thousands of people and businesses, all of which vanished in a few minutes, curtesy of Little Boy.

Director Masaaki Tanabe was seven years old at the time, and was evacuated to his grandmother’s house, 37 miles away. His mother and brother died in the blast, but his father survived, with burns that lead to death some weeks later. People interviewed by Director Tanabe are all hibakusha (survivors) and until recent years they did not dare to speak about the subject.

Animation layout artist Jocelyn Cervenka put together an impressive computer-generated images of restaurants, shoe stores, cinemas, and the Industrial Promotion Hall, based on photos and recreated the sights lost in the city. Music was composed by Sean Schafer Hennessy.

Unrated. 52 minutes. © Tami Smith, Guest Reviewer

Story: B+

Acting: B

Technical: B+

Overall: B


By Harvey Karten

Harvey Karten is the founder of the The New York Film Critics Online (NYFCO) an organization composed of Internet film critics based in New York City. The group meets once a year, in December, for voting on its annual NYFCO Awards.

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