Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Jayne Loader, Kevin Rafferty, Pierce Rafferty

The Atomic Cafe (1982), co-directed by Jayne Loader, Kevin Rafferty, and Pierce Rafferty, is a witty and biting assemblage of post-1945 newsreels, speeches, popular song, army training films, and government propaganda on the subject of nuclear war. The film captures an era of fear and misinformation that perhaps isn't so different from the present. The film has no added narration or contemporary interviews, so its themes, ironies, and relevance derive from expert editing. The film's structure builds to a sobering sequence, constructed from archival materials, which portrays a sustained thermonuclear attack. A simplistic graph (top still) directed at an ignorant and trusting population bring to mind the US government's "Homeland Security Advisory System" color chart. Footage of kids running for cover from old seesaws resembles images from James Cameron's The Terminator 2 (1991) that show a playground after the bombs have dropped. (second and third stills).
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Documentary Starts Here by Nancy Kalow is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.