Nuclear Nation Screen 5 articles

Nuclear Nation

2012

Nuclear Nation Poster
  • Filmmaker Atsushi Funahashi sticks to a biding-time rhythm that prevents this course-of-a-year portrait (which premiered in 2012 at Berlin in a 145-minute cut, nearly an hour longer than the version playing in New York) from becoming wholly engrossing... Funahashi’s film is not always visually stunning, but he does present some startling and affecting footage.

  • Strategically, director Atsushi Funahashi foregrounds interviews with the evacuees, capturing their frustration at the government, fears over disease and a haunted glimmer of events from 68 years ago. As presented here (cut down from a longer edit), the film might have benefited from more technical context related to the plant’s failure—this is a cautionary tale worth heeding. But the voices are valuable enough.

  • Employing straightforward, music-free aesthetics that express the grim realities of his story, director Funahashi captures both grief and outrage in equal measure, all of it tinged with the displaced and desolate citizens' regret over having predicated their fates on the very energy-source technology that cost them so much during WWII.

  • The title Nuclear Nation is something of a misnomer, at least for the American-release cut of the film, which is almost 50 minutes shorter than the original version. There are intimations of wide-scale wrongdoing, but, for the most part, the movie takes an eye-level approach to the disaster, focusing on the experiences of ordinary people living in makeshift shelters and public housing, lining up for food, and returning to their homes in hazmat suits.

  • Few films have opening images more chilling than the ruins of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, or more bleak than the last 10 minutes of “Nuclear Nation...”