Nuclear “Dreams” in Japan
In the hours following the devastating earthquake in Japan, everything felt so surreal. Everyone watching from afar thought it looked like a movie. I stayed up all night watching the news unfold, but I couldn’t fully react. There was too much happening, all so fast. Mother Nature was just too omnipotent to analyze.
I couldn’t imagine how anything I wanted to say could be worth anyone’s time. So I chose to read rather than write about it. The catastrophe is and continues to be larger than words. The one thing I can now admit is that throughout it all, my mind has kept circulating a particular string of footage. I haven’t been able to shake it since the event broke. However, I’m not talking about the video feeds I first saw on CNN at 1:00am, or the heart-wrenching photos in the media that followed…
… rather, these images comes from a film I hold very close to my heart. I didn’t feel it would be appropriate to bring it up, but with the impending safety threats and uncertainties surrounding Japan’s nuclear facilities, the parallels have become too strong.
The sequence I’m talking about (pictured below) comes from the 1990 film, Dreams, one of those rare pieces of cinema that have inspired me time and time again. Akira Kurosawa’s brilliant assembly of personal vignettes is not only potent, beautiful, and thought provoking, but in my opinion, Dreams is up there with some of the great art of our time. I am in no way saying that this film should be compared to the weight of the actual realities unfolding in Japan. But the humanity within this scene is real, and if I don’t share this soon, it will continue to haunt me. Take a few minutes to watch it: