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“Nuclear Savage: The Islands of Secret Project 4.1”- SANTA FE INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL 2018

SANTA FE INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL 2018

“Nuclear Savage: The Islands of Secret Project 4.1” and “Atomic Artist” Pasatiempo, Michael Abatemarco

      Oct 12, 2018

NUCLEAR SAVAGE: THE ISLANDS

    OF SECRET PROJECT 4.1  

      Documentary, not rated, 87 minutes

    ATOMIC ARTIST  Short documentary, not rated, 27 minutes

    Santa Fe’s own Adam Horowitz, producer, writer, and director of Nuclear Savage, begins this unsettling documentary on secret radiation experiments conducted on Pacific Islanders with a brief history of the Marshall Islands, from the first European contact there to the devastating tests on Bikini Atoll starting in 1946. Early in the film, footage is shown of the Castle Bravo detonation over the atoll, a 15-megaton hydrogen blast that, in addition to its deleterious impact on the environment, took an immediate and lasting toll on the health of human populations. In the 12 years after that first test, the U.S. government detonated nearly two dozen such devices in the area. That number increased to 67 by the end of the Cold War. The race to remain ahead of the Soviets in the development of nuclear weapons became the justification for denying the islanders the privilege of their humanity, with government officials choosing instead to regard them as simple savages.

    Parts of the islands remain uninhabitable, their residents unable to return to their homes due to high levels of radiation. They live in squalor on other islands, displaced by the thousands. The Marshallese government official in charge of foreign affairs from 2008 to 2009, when the film was in production, calls for greater scrutiny of U.S. documents that were declassified in 1993. These files lend weight to suspicions of cover-ups on the part of the American government concerning the deliberate radiation poisoning of island inhabitants. Horowitz presents credible evidence and does a fine job tying information that’s been available to the public for years with new information gleaned from the government’s Project 4.1, strongly implicating it as a top-secret operation to study radiation effects on unwitting subjects.

    It’s hard to refute the eyewitness testimony recounted in the documentary. One islander, a middle-aged woman, states plainly and wistfully, “They wanted to find out what would happen to us from the bomb. They used us as human experiments.” Video footage is shown of islanders from Rongelap Atoll who were exposed to heavy fallout from the Bravo blast and suffered severe radiation burns. No action was taken to see that the several hundred inhabitants of Rongelap were evacuated before the test. Young children were born with deformities or cancer, people’s hair fell out, and islanders began dying of cancer at alarming rates.

    Nuclear Savage is compelling, disturbing, thought-provoking filmmaking, in which Horowitz contrasts the idyllic music and customs of the islanders with footage of horrific events. Funded by Pacific Islanders in Communications, a public broadcasting company that provides programming to PBS, Nuclear Savage is a damning look at America’s presence in the Marshall Islands, and is an important, timely documentary. The film has won numerous awards at international festivals, including several jury prizes, and was an official selection at the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York. An official screening was sponsored by the United Nations in 2015 in conjunction with nuclear nonproliferation hearings…………

    Jean Cocteau Cinema; “Atomic Artist” precedes “Nuclear Savage” at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20. Screenings include Q&As with the filmmakers.  http://www.santafenewmexican.com/pasatiempo/movies/nuclear-savage-the-islands-of-secret-project-and-atomic-artist/article_744df6d9-bfa7-5c2

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    October 13, 2018 - Posted by | environment, OCEANIA, Resources -audiovicual

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