Children of Hiroshima (1952)
July 10, 2018 6:07 PM - Subscribe

Post war Hiroshima: It's been four years since the last time she visited her hometown. Takako faces the after effects of the A-bomb when she travels around the city to call on old friends.

NYTimes: Kaneto Shindo’s “Children of Hiroshima” was released in Japan in 1952, when the memories of World War II and the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were still fresh and painful. A sense of immediacy, or working through recent and almost unfathomable trauma, is palpable in the film, much of which was shot in Hiroshima itself.


“Children of Hiroshima,” commissioned by the Japan Teachers Union and based on a compilation of testimonies by a university professor, Arata Osada, combines documentary naturalism with lyrical and frankly sentimental passages. The bombing is recalled through a horrific, surreal montage that anticipates some of the wild imagery Mr. Shindo would bring to later, horror-inflected movies like “Onibaba” (1964) and “Kuroneko” (1968). But the overall tone is heartfelt and determined, as Takako, visiting the small handful of her former kindergarten students who survived, encounters both unbearable sadness and fragile optimism.

Mr. Shindo combines austerity and sensuality to stirring, sometimes mesmerizing effect. The beauty of the compositions in “Children of Hiroshima” — the clarity of focus, the graceful balance within the frames — provides some relief from the grimness of his subject, though the film’s aesthetic texture also undermines the political message that Mr. Shindo’s sponsors hoped would come through. He contemplates Japan’s wartime experience with regret, rather than indignation.

Streaming on the internet archive.
posted by MoonOrb (1 comment total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Thanks for posting this. I can't watch it now but I have bookmarked it.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 9:35 AM on July 14, 2018

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