The Reel 11004
France, 19 min
In 1946, shortly after the atomic bombings, an American army team shot a documentary about “defeated Japan”. Reel 11004 concerning Hiroshima and Nagasaki would be classified top secret for 36 years. Mirabelle Fréville has found it and edited it to denounce the first censorship in nuclear history.
In 1946, when the United States occupied the Japanese archipelago, an American army team and an operator from Hiroshima shot a documentary about “defeated Japan”. At the time, very few people could imagine that the atomic bombs (representing “a harnessing of the basic power of the universe” as per the mystic-promethean terminology of Harry Truman, in a speech given on 6 August 1945) would continue to kill for years. Several reels concern the cities razed by the nuclear fire. Mirabelle Fréville got hold of reel “11004”, classified top secret for 36 years, to revisit the obliteration of reality undertaken by the American censorship code in Occupied Japan, which forbade doctors from talking about “atomic” illnesses and banned the word “radioactivity” from the newspapers. Her film, composed of sometimes difficult to bear images with minimalist sound effects, rehabilitates the survivors living on borrowed time (“hibakusha”) because of the Bomb, whose silent, mutilated, burned bodies continue to denounce the first censorship in atomic history.
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