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A global look at the impact of military use of nuclear technology and people's perception of it.


Peter Watkins


Peter Watkins


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Credited cast:
Francine Bastien Francine Bastien ... Herself (Société Radio-Canada)
Brian Mulroney ... Himself (archive footage)
Mila Mulroney Mila Mulroney ... Herself (archive footage)


A global look at the impact of military use of nuclear technology and people's perception of it.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Documentary | War




English | French

Release Date:

5 February 1988 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

The Journey See more »

Filming Locations:

Hiroshima, Japan

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


It is the longest cinematic film, a length of 14 hours and 33 minutes. See more »

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User Reviews

"Eternally waving white flag..."
30 July 2014 | by SindreKaspersenSee all my reviews

English screenwriter, film editor and director Peter Watkins' documentary feature which he wrote and produced, consist of interviews from 1983-1986 with families from nations like Japan, the United States, France, former Soviet Union, former West-Germany, Scotland, Mexico, Tahiti, Australia and Norway regarding their knowledge, feelings and given information from television, their governments and the school systems in their countries about the militarization of the planet. It premiered at the 41st Edinburgh International Film Festival in 1987, was shot on locations in five continents and is a Sweden-Denmark-Norway- Scotland-Canada-USA-Mexico-Australia-West Germany-Soviet Union-France- Polynesia-Mozambique-Japan co-production. It tells the story about photographs of nuclear weapons and of people from Nagasaki and Hiroshima in Japan who in the early 1940s during the Second World War (1939-1945) became the human targets of these weapons after the constitutional monarchy called the Empire of Japan (1868-1947) committed a war crime against the United States which was retaliated one month before the end of World War II, and how African, Asian, Australian, North American and European adults, students and children in the 1980s responded to seeing photographs of victims of the atomic bomb.

Distinctly and precisely directed by English auteur filmmaker Peter Watkins, this finely paced historical testimony which is translated by Canadian translators Erna Bafe and Margarita Stoker and narrated by the director, American photographer Bob Deltegreti and from many interactive, coherent and reflective viewpoints, draws a topographic, socio-political and questioning portrayal of prioritization of nuclear weapon reinforcements over the living conditions of common people. While notable for its versatile milieu depictions, reverent cinematography by the many cinematographers from the many countries where this documentary was made, many interviewers and distinguishable use of light, this narrative-driven and monologue-driven fourteen hour and thirty minutes story about state autocracy promoted to the people as democracy and thereby instigating anarchy, colonization, international relations, political imitation, intercultural communication, world arms trade in direct connection with human suffering and increased death rates, how bigotry, unconditional nationalism and hostility between nations is created through premeditated disinformation, how neutrality have been favored over innate human feelings in education, conservation of a heat and electricity resource which as artillery has the potential of annihilating the whole world and five characters in the alphabet forming one of the most substantial words ever thought of, exists between ideas, realities, motions and acts.

Released the same year as the first Palestinian uprising called the intifada took place at the Gaza Strip, the year before German-French- American filmmaker Marcel Ophüls' "Hôtel Terminus: The Life and Times of Klaus Barbie" (1988), the year after Norwegian physician and politician Gro Harlem Brundtland became prime minister of Norway for the second time, two years before the Fall of the Berlin Wall (1961-1989), two years after Russian filmmaker Elem Klimov's "Come and See" (1985), three years before Appenzell Innerrhoden became the last canton of Switzerland to introduce women's suffrage and three years after the Algerian Family Code was enacted, this platform for the invaluable voices of ordinary people which informs on the immense military and nuclear reinforcements of the United Stated and Russia in the event of an upcoming war in Europe and disarms the strategic methods used in the nineteen-eighties by reigning governments and the mass media to conceal factual information from them and silence their civil right to protest against decreed restrictions which increased state power and civil adversity, contains a naturally occurring and rarely intangible though perceptible score with a performance by an aspiring pianist named Yoriko Shinjo of one of her own compositions called "Snow".

This authoritatively educational, monumental in scale and congenially conversational and atmospheric study of ideological systems from the late 20th century which is set in the mid-1980s during the Cold War (1946-1991) and which surpasses moral indignation, is impelled and reinforced by its fragmented narrative structure, subtle continuity, use of television monitors, interchangeably subjective and objective depiction of its central themes, enactments of nuclear attacks by volunteering citizens, public discussions, comment by an American daughter: "Dear Mr. President. I think there should not be a war. I think there should not be nuclear bombs.", by a Scottish activist: "The moment you try to question a decision or an idea then you are automatically a traitor to the whole country you live in." and by a Norwegian mother, wife and teacher named Ragnveig Vikan: "I think it is the governing powers' duty to provide the teachers with proper information and make everything that has to do with disarmament an own subject in schools. Call it peace education." An eternally waving white flag and a venerable instrument to the future of the planet and humanity.

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