The Last Atomic Bomb (2006)




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Movie Info

Nuclear proliferation of today is seen through the life of a Nagasaki survivor and college students dedicated to making sure the truth about the last atomic bomb deliberately used on human beings will never be forgotten. As it documents the survivor's devastating yet inspirational life, The Last Atomic Bomb interweaves the still controversial U.S. decision to use the bomb, censorship in the U.S. and Japan of the bomb or its effects, discrimination against survivors by other Japanese, buildup of nuclear weapons during the Cold War, the anti-nuclear movement, and today's nuclear proliferation issues.The Last Atomic Bomb relates the story of 10-year-old Sakue Shimohira hiding in a shelter near ground zero when the bomb exploded 60 years ago. Her emotionally wrenching experiences are interwoven with rarely seen archival footage and never-before-told accounts of what happened to her in 1945 and in subsequent years.One of the film's most powerful moments describes her sister's suicide as, she says, "the courage to die." Mrs. Shimohira, the survivor, found "the courage to live" and dedicate her life to abolishing nuclear weapons.The film follows Mrs. Shimohira - now age 70 - and two college students to Paris, London, Washington, DC and New York where they present letters to Presidents Bush and Chirac and Prime Minister Blair, inviting the government leaders to come to Nagasaki.In Paris Mrs. Shimohira shares memories in a moving encounter with an Auschwitz survivor and with high school students in London and New York City. At the film's life affirming conclusion it is clear that student Haruka has become motivated to carry on Mrs. Shimohira's nuclear abolition message to young people around the world.Robert Richter, Director and with Kathleen Sullivan one of the two Producers of The Last Atomic bomb, was a young teen-ager when World War Two ended, cheering US victory over Japan with thousands of others in Times Square. He believed Pres. Truman who told the world that the atomic bombs were used to end the war and save American lives. Only during the course of this new documentary did Richter come to realize there is another very disturbing side to this widely accepted view of history.Kathleen Sullivan is a disarmament educator, NGO rep at the United Nations, author, consultant and lecturer on nuclear issues. -- © Richter Productions
Documentary , Special Interest
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Critic Reviews for The Last Atomic Bomb

All Critics (5) | Top Critics (2)

The Last Atomic Bomb takes a deeply affecting look at the bombing of Nagasaki and its aftermath as seen through the eyes of a 70-year-old survivor named Sakue Shimohira.

November 8, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

The trauma is real, and the facts disturbing, but the doc doesn't have the chops to deliver what should be a more powerful statement.

Full Review… | November 7, 2006
Village Voice
Top Critic

Perplexing in its pedestrian and not particularly balanced production.

Full Review… | February 28, 2007
Film Journal International

Ricther understands that there is strength in numbers.

Full Review… | November 15, 2006
Slant Magazine

In the end, the tiny Shimohira's voice is the most powerful, bearing witness in hopes that future generations will choose peace over war.

Full Review… | November 7, 2006

Audience Reviews for The Last Atomic Bomb


Not the best documentary in quality, but the politics struck me as way above average. Questioning the necessity of dropping the bomb (something Jon Stewart couldn't even do 65 years after the fact), pointing out the necessity of education and activism, focusing on Nagasaki (which is often treated as an afterthought as if it wasn't equally horrific what happened there) and at one point a Holocaust surivor and a Nagasaki bomb survivor spoke, which was an interesting connection - no coincidence that U.S. crimes are not usually taught in schools, but when we "liberate" people, it's a part of the curriculum (I spoke to a Holocaust survivor afterward, an activist colleague of mine and she agreed and pointed out that Jews in the U.S. put a lot of pressure behind making sure it's a part of the curriculum, so that made a difference, but when we're the perpetrators, it's a hard sell). I had never heard of the Press Code, so that was educational and makes complete sense. Covers a lot of aspects and rather well, not the best in construction and many images used were distorted beyond what they could handle, but it was good.

Courtney Smith
Courtney Smith

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