Steven Okazaki

White Light/Black Rain

January 1, 2008

Directed by Steven Okazaki

Sixty-two years ago, the first and only atomic bombs were dropped by the United States on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Today, Oscar-winning director Steven Okazaki brings us the voices of hibakusha, A-bomb survivors, in White Light/Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Our generation may be the last to hear their stories firsthand but thankfully, Okazaki has captured them on film. Okazaki interviewed 500 survivors, followed 100, and whittled it down to the 14 featured in the documentary. The HBO-commissioned film also includes archival footage and interviews with U.S. military personnel who participated in dropping the bombs. Okazaki uses his trademark of giving voice to the marginalized survivors who will forever suffer physical and mental scars. At times graphic and difficult to watch, images are punctuated by haunting music from Mogwai and Brian Eno. The stories are not a mere lesson in history-they show the destruction caused by war and nuclear weapons. It's a heartbreaking film, and perhaps one of the most important ones of our century because of its scale, relevance and lessons on humanity.

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Momo Chang

Senior Contributing Editor

Momo Chang is the Content Manager at the Center for Asian American Media, and freelances for magazines, online publications, and weeklies. Her writings focus on Asian American communities, communities of color, and youth culture. She is a former staff writer at the Oakland Tribune. Her stories range from uncovering working conditions in nail salons, to stories about “invisible minorities” like Tongan youth and Iu Mien farmers. She has freelances The New York Times, WIRED, and East Bay Express, among other publications.