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Every year, on the evening of August 6th, the people of Hiroshima gather along the banks of the Ota River and light more than 10,000 paper lanterns as the final part of a deeply moving peace ceremony. The memorial event caps off a day of reflection that includes film screenings, musical performances, and a wide variety of different speeches. Hibakusha — survivors of the nuclear blasts — gather around the Atomic Bomb Dome, many of them joined by their children and grandchildren. One particularly animated man performs a parable about the horrors visited upon his hometown, while a British ex-pat translates his story into English for the foreigners in attendance. The atmosphere is solemn, but not somber. There’s good food. Even the tourists start to loosen up.
However, perhaps the most striking thing about how Hiroshima chooses to commemorate its defining tragedy is the way in which the city focuses on the future as much as it does on the past. In Japan, August 6th is a day about peace, but it’s also a day about prevention, and the difference between the two grows more palpable as you wander the area and engage in the various events. It’s unspeakably powerful to see people so constructively repurpose their grief (and also their guilt) into a rallying cry for a brighter tomorrow, to see them find light in a bottomless hole. Now, that power has been captured in a thoughtful new film.
Drama - Woman - Age - Tumult - World
A lushly animated historical drama about a young woman who comes of age during the tumult of World War II, Sunao Katabuchi’s “In this Corner of the World” is scattered and emotionally disjointed from start to finish, but few films have done so much to convey the everyday heroism of getting out of bed in the morning — not just surviving in...
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