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How far have we come in controlling nuclear power?

Tuesday, 1 April 2014 - 6:54pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna webdesk

Vikalp a monthly documentary screening initiative inspires us to reconsider the subject of nuclear power with the screening of two documentaries: ‘If You Love This Planet’, and ‘The Horses of Fukushima’, at Prithvi House, Juhu.

Eager to embrace the advantages of nuclear power and energy, we have forgotten past, and relatively recent horrors that have jolted the world. Although it has the potential to solve our future energy needs, nuclear power is fundamentally unsafe.

If You Love This Planet, is an Oscar winning documentary directed by Terre Nash. It follows a lecture by physician, Dr. Helen Caldicott, to students about the potential dangers of nuclear weapons. A critic of the nuclear age, she describes in simple and passionate words the social, medical and environmental implications of a nuclear attack. She explains the ludicrous reasoning behind nuclear armament in the context of the cold war comparing the “overkill” capacity of Russia and the USA. It will all be over in half an hour, she explains and those who survive will only envy the dead, for the world wouldn’t be the same. The documentary is filled with newsreels, including excerpts from Truman’s announcement of the dropping of the atomic bomb. It features images of Japanese survivors with severe burns and mutations resulting from exposure, reinforcing the harsh medical consequences of such an attack.

The largest nuclear disaster in more than a decade, the failure of the Fukushima Nuclear Reactors in Japan, 2011 emitted radioactive particles, which severely contaminated the environment, and adversely affected the lives of the locals. The horses have been an important part of the local life in Fukushima, and are celebrated each year in a traditional festival. Directed by Matsubayashi Yoju, The Horses of Fukushima records the troubles of a horse rancher Mr. Tanaka (who rears horses for the customary horse festival) who refuses to slaughter his horses despite government orders after the disaster. The horses are unable to recover completely after exposure to the radiation. Unable to give up on them Mr. Tanaka attempts to comfort them despite various barriers. The movie captures the helplessness of the horses in light of a manmade disaster, and brings to light the folly in mans greed. It largely revolves around a show horse Miracle Quest and his slow recovery.

The Vikalp screenings make for an enlightening, and enjoyable experience. The warm and informal setting reflects the Films for Freedom idea it stands for. The next screening on 28th April is of Shubhradeep Chakravorty and Meera Chaudhary’s En Dino Muzaffarnagar- an investigative documentary on the riots of Muzaffarnagar.

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