Oppenheimer suffers nuclear fallout from Christopher Nolan’s one-sided creative vision in Japan

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A woman looks at posters of current movies, including Best Picture-winner ‘Oppenheimer’, at a movie theater in Hiroshima. Photo Credit: Irene Wang

Located less than a kilometer from the epicenter of the devastating first atomic bombing in Hiroshima, the hall of the Hachoza Cinema this weekend again recalled the tragic legacy of 1945. Eight months after its American debut, the long-awaited arrival of Christopher Nolan’s Best Picture winner on Japanese soil has sparked a variety of reactions in the land of the rising sun.

At a film festival in Hiroshima earlier this month, festival president Kyoko Heiya seemed daunted by the prospects of screening such a film in the city. Heya said, “Is this really a film that the people of Hiroshima can watch?” Japan Times.

For many, the film’s nuanced portrayal of the “Father of the Atomic Bomb” was both captivating and controversial. Cillian Murphy’s Oscar-winning performance highlighted the revolutionary physicist’s moral dilemmas surrounding the use of nuclear weapons during World War II, and received praise for its introspective examination of a complex historical figure. Nevertheless, the blatant absence of explicit depiction of human suffering caused by the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki caused anger in some quarters.

Cillian Murphy in a scene from 'Oppenheimer'

Cillian Murphy in a scene from ‘Oppenheimer’ Photo Credit: Melinda Sue Gordon

“Of course, this is a wonderful film that deserves to win an Academy Award. But the film also depicts the atomic bomb in such a way that it seems to praise it,” said a 37-year-old Hiroshima resident. reutersCapturing the emotions of many people.

Takashi Hiraoka, the 96-year-old former mayor of Hiroshima, who witnessed the horrors of the atomic bomb, told Asahi Shimbun“The film was made to validate the conclusion that the atomic bomb was used to save Americans’ lives”.

The omission of internal imagery depicting the devastation inflicted on Hiroshima and Nagasaki left a glaring void for those who had hoped for a more comprehensive depiction of the human toll of nuclear war, imprinted in the collective memory of its citizens. Nolan had previously defended this controversial creative choice by arguing against deviating from the storytelling perspective. “He (Oppenheimer) learned about the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on the radio – just like the rest of the world,” Nolan said. nbc Early last year.

This perceived lack of accountability also resonated with more than a few people. “Oppenheimer created the atomic bomb, which means he made this world a very scary place. Even if he did not intend to kill many people, he still cannot be considered completely irresponsible,” said Yu Sato, a student at Hiroshima City University. japan times,

Yet, amid the discord, there were voices of appreciation for the film’s underlying message. Per GuardianProfessor Masao Tomonaga, an A-bomb survivor and honorary director of the Japanese Red Cross Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Hospital, found solace in the “anti-nuclear” narrative and highlighted the film’s emphasis on Oppenheimer’s moral awakening.

Tomonaga also highlighted the generational divide that influenced the criticism. He said, “The hibakusha (survivors of the bombings) are all very old, so it’s a film for young people… Now it’s up to future generations to rid the world of nuclear weapons.”

Moviegoers lined up in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district this weekend for the film’s subdued premiere, but the absence of lavish Hollywood-style fanfare was a tacit acknowledgment of the gravity of the film’s grim subject matter. According to reports from local media outlets, some cinemas across Japan displayed notices at their entrances warning audiences about potentially triggering imagery.

The film grossed a whopping $800,000 on its opening day, a feat that eclipsed the earnings of recent blockbusters Dune: Part 2Estimates for its opening weekend range from $2.5 million to $3.5 million.

However, in between Oppenheimer’s Triumph, a titan of a different nature, is based on the same story – this time, told through the lens of Japan’s collective trauma. Toho’s Godzilla: Minus One Redefined the boundaries of success. Garnering praise and breaking box office records, the film not only won the title of highest-grossing live-action Japanese film in North America, but also won the franchise’s first Oscar.

Takashi Yamazaki, director of the Oscar-winning kaiju blockbuster, expressed his desire to present a counter-narrative to the coming-of-age events depicted in Nolan’s film. “I think it’s needed [be] A reply from Japan oppenheimer, Someday, I’d like to make that movie.”

A few days before the end of World War II, about 140,000 people died in Hiroshima and 74,000 in Nagasaki when the United States dropped atomic bombs on cities. While Japan goes through a flood of emotions, leveraging the film’s cinematic merits with a wartime sensibility that’s still fresh, the country navigates the provocative return of its greatest enemy on Japanese territory (since Godzilla). Is doing a good job.


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