Seventy years ago this month, the bombing of Hiroshima showed the appalling destructive power of the atomic bomb. Mark Cousins’s bold documentary looks at death in the atomic age, but life too. BBC Four have acquired Cousins’ piece as part of their BBC Goes Nuclear week, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Hiroshima.
Using only archive film and a new musical score by the band Mogwai, the film shows us an impressionistic kaleidoscope of our nuclear times – protest marches, Cold War sabre-rattling, Chernobyl and Fukishima – but also the sublime beauty of the atomic world, and how x-rays and MRI scans have improved human lives. The nuclear age has been a nightmare, but dreamlike too.
Cousins certainly knows how to tackle big subject matter in documentaries (he proved that with his epic, 15-hour odyssey through the history of cinema).
First shown on BBC Four, 9.00pm, Sunday 9th August. Available until Wednesday 9th September.