20 July 2005: for immediate release
To commemorate the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 60 years ago, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament has teamed up with Curzon Cinemas and Contemporary Films to present a number of rarely seen films, together with a panel session to discuss today’s nuclear dangers.
The harrowing and controversial The War Game, and the end of the world drama On the Beach, starring Ava Gardner and Fred Astaire, will be shown, along with two shorts: Booom, a humorous take on the notion that might is right, and Blosch, a powerful and comprehensive argument for disarmament.
The New Nuclear Threat will be discussed by a panel including Kate Hudson, Chair of CND, long standing peace campaigner Bruce Kent, representative of Mayors for Peace and member of the GLA Jenny Jones and Jeremy Corbyn MP.
Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament,
“It is important that we mark the 60th anniversary by helping to bring about a real understanding of the horror of the nuclear bomb and the continued danger to the world of the nuclear weapons held by all of the nuclear weapon states, including the UK. It is also vital that we challenge both the perception that it was necessary to drop the bomb on Japan and the idea that it would ever be necessary or justified to use it anywhere, ever again.”
Notes to Editor:
1. For further information and interviews please contact Ruth Tanner CND’s Press & Communications Officer on 0207 7002350 or 07968 420859
2. For more information about Contemporary Films.
Film synopsis and order of play
12PM BOOOM: An animated film that takes a humorous peep at a very serious subject: the giant global arms race. BOOOM is a history of aggression, and the theory that might makes right. By extension it carries us into the atomic and missile age, postulating various scenarios for planetary self-destruction, both planned and accidental. Without narration, using only sound-effects and music, the film asks the question: is this THE END?
12.15PM: THE WAR GAME Director: Peter Watkins. Starring: Michael Aspel, Dick Graham (commentators). UK 1966. 48mins. Intended for broadcast in 1965, writer/director Peter Watkins’ nuclear war drama was withheld by the BBC – possibly as a result of political pressure – and remained untelevised for nearly twenty years, finally being transmitted on 31st July 1985.
Continuing the experiments in blending fiction and documentary techniques, Watkins presented data drawn from his detailed research – encompassing interviews, Civil Defence documents, scientific studies and accounts of the effects of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki blasts and the non-nuclear devastation of Dresden, Hamburg and other cities during World War II – in the form of charts, quotes and vox-pop style face-to-face interviews with ordinary people. These he embedded into his own imagined scenario of the impact of a blast in Kent following the escalation of an East-West conflict.
The result was a controversial and harrowing film which, after the BBC had reluctantly allowed a cinema release (distributed by the British Film Institute), garnered huge critical praise internationally, winning a number of prizes, including an Academy Award (intriguingly in the Best Documentary category). The film had a significant influence on the growing Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. (Mark Duguid, Screenonline) CND organised hundreds of screenings around the country in the 1960s and 1970s, and thousands of people were drawn into anti-nuclear campaigning as a result.
1.20PM: BLOSCH Director: Ian Dury A short, and to the point, film about the threat of nuclear war. A number of well-known personalities were asked to give their reasons for supporting the World Disarmament Campaign. The result is a powerful and comprehensive argument for disarmament. BLOSCH is Ian Dury’s description of a nuclear explosion. Other interviewees include Nigel Hawthorne, Susannah York, Billie Whitelaw and Maureen Lipman.
1.30PM: Panel discussion: The New Nuclear Threat 60 years after the bombing of Hiroshima, the threat of nuclear weapons being used in war is growing once again. At least eight countries possess nuclear weapons, all far more powerful than the bombs dropped in 1945.
Led by Kate Hudson of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), the panel includes Jenny Jones (Green Party) peace activist Bruce Kent and Jeremy Corbyn MP.
2.50PM: ON THE BEACH Director: Stanley Kramer. Starring: Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire, Anthony Perkins.USA 1959. 134 mins. Based on Nevil Shute’s acclaimed novel, this end-of-the-world drama is set in Australia in 1964, after nuclear war has eliminated life in the northern hemisphere. Produced and directed by Stanley Kramer, this unremittingly bleak message film remains a powerful, well-acted, deftly photographed film in the tradition of FAIL SAFE and DR. STRANGELOVE. When the film went on public release in 1959, many CND groups leafleted outside cinemas and held public meetings to publicise the issues. Shocked by the contents of the film, many became active in CND as a result.
5. Other Hiroshima anniversary events
6th August – Hiroshima day ceremony – Noon-1pm – Tavistock Square, London WC1 (Tube: Euston) Speakers, Cllr. Barbara Hughes, Mayor of Camden, Kate Hudson, CND Chair, Lindsay German, STWC Convenor, Susannah York (invited),Bruce Kent (invited) Adrian Mitchell (invited), Jeremy Corbyn MP (Chair), Music: The Workers’ Music Association. Info. 020-7607 2302
For further information on activities and press opportunites across the country to mark the 60th anniversary go to http.
CND will be represented at the 60th anniversary international peace conference in Hiroshima and Nagasaki from the 2nd – 9th August for further information contact Ruth Tanner CND’s Press & Communications Officer on 0207 7002350 or 07968 420859
6. CND has been running a Countdown to Hiroshima Campaign to remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki and say never again. As part of this campaign CND has also launched a Peace Education Pack, with the support of the Mayor of London, which has gone to all secondary schools in London.
7. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) is one of Europe’s biggest single-issue peace campaigns, with over 32,000 members in the UK. CND campaigns for the abolition of all nuclear weapons everywhere.