28 December 2014

Loving the Bomb: Promotional Materials for 'Dr. Strangelove'

Reflecting on the way that Japanese bomb film Ikimono no Kiroku portrayed the bomb raises the question of whether Kurosawa successfully challenged social denial about the bomb. Even though there are far more such weapons today and they are much more destructive than those of the 1950s, perhaps we are still in denial. Is there any fear and anxiety about this problem today, or have we, as Kubrick suggests, 'learned how to stop worrying and love the bomb?’ Like Kurosawa, although from a completely different, more irreverent, even sardonic viewpoint, Dr Strangelove also looks at the theme of sanity and insanity related to the bomb. Kubrick focuses on a psychotic general who launches a nuclear strike on the Soviet Union to protect his ‘precious bodily fluids.’ By looking at a two of the promotional materials for Dr Strangelove, we can see that the focus began to drift away from the message and more toward cinematic elements.

26 December 2014

Fearing the Bomb: Promotional Materials for ‘Ikimono no Kiroku'

One of the earliest Japanese atomic bomb related films is Ikimono no Kiroku. It’s about a wealthy industrialist, Nakajima (Toshiro Mifune), who seeks to escape the threat of radioactive fallout from South Pacific nuclear weapons testing by moving his complacent and reluctant family to Brazil, initiating a struggle that ultimately brings tragedy. The film was produced by Toho, one of the largest movie studios in Japan. Like many movie studios, Toho produced promotional materials to advertise its films, and here I'd like to look at some of those materials.