From the official press release:
WHITE LIGHT/BLACK RAIN: THE DESTRUCTION OF HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI
PREMIERES MONDAY, AUG. 6, 2007 (7:30 p.m. ET/PT) on HBO
On August 6th and 9th, 1945, two atomic bombs vaporized 210,000 people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Those who survived are called "hibakusha"--people exposed to the bomb--and there are an estimated 200,000 living today. Today, with the threat of nuclear weapons of mass destruction frighteningly real --the world's arsenal is capable of repeating the destruction at Hiroshima 400,000 times over-- Oscar® award-winning filmmaker Steven Okazaki revisits the bombings and shares the stories of the only people to have survived a nuclear attack.
“With WHITE LIGHT/BLACK RAIN, I wanted to tell one of the great human stories of one of history’s monumental tragedies,” notes Okazaki, who met more than 500 survivors and interviewed more than 100 people before choosing the 14 subjects featured in the film. Debuting on the 62nd anniversary of the bombings, the powerful documentary provides a graphic, unflinching look at the reality of nuclear warfare through first-hand accounts of both survivors and American men who carried out the bombing missions.
In a succession of riveting personal accounts by atomic bomb survivors, many of whom have never spoken publicly before, the film reveals both unimaginable suffering and extraordinary human resilience. Sakue Shimohira, ten years old at the time, recalls the moment she considered killing herself after losing the last member of her family, saying, “I realized there are two kinds of courage – the courage to die and the courage to live.” Kiyoko Imori, had been just blocks from the hypocenter, the only survivor of an elementary school of 620 students; Shigeko Sasamori, 13 years old at the time, is one of the 25 “Hiroshima Maidens” brought to the U.S. after the war; Keiji Nakazawa, who lost his father, brother and two sisters, has devoted his life to retelling his story in comic books and animation, including BAREFOOT GEN.
Also profiled are Americans who were intimately involved in the bombings: Morris Jeppson, the weapon test officer on the Enola Gay mission to Hiroshima; Lawrence Johnston, a civilian employee of the University of California, which manages Los Alamos; Harold Agnew, a scientific advisor; and Theodore “Dutch” Van Kirk, the navigator who believed the mission would end the war and save lives overall.
Today, as global tensions rise, the unthinkable once more becomes possible. The urgency of the warning conveyed in WHITE LIGHT/BLACK RAIN is borne out by a comment from one of the Americans: “We have opened Pandora’s box, and the genie can’t be stuffed back in the bottle.”
For more information and to view a trailer, visit www.hbo.com/docs
HBO Video releases WHITE LIGHT/BLACK RAIN: THE DESTRUCTION OF HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI on DVD Aug. 7.
WHITE LIGHT/BLACK RAIN: THE DESTRUCTION OF HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI is an HBO Documentary Films presentation, produced by Farallon Films; directed, written and produced by Steven Okazaki. For HBO: consulting editor, Geoff Bartz; supervising producer, Sara Bernstein; executive producers, Sheila Nevins and Robert Richter.