Children of Hiroshima | Chicago Reader

Children of Hiroshima

The atomic bombing of Hiroshima was still a recent calamity when Japanese director Kaneto Shindo went there to direct this somber 1952 drama, the first to seriously consider the human aftermath. Nobuko Otowa (the director's wife and a frequent star of his films) plays a young woman who taught kindergarten in Hiroshima but left for another island before the blast; seven years later, she returns to look up her old students and friends at the school. Kaneto's script tends to melodrama, especially when the heroine meets an ill and badly burned man who used to work for her father and tries to persuade him to give up custody of his orphaned grandson. But there are striking moments throughout: at the school, burned schoolgirls harmonize on a Christian hymn; in a flashback to the blast, clocks stop at 8:15 and naked bodies are cut together in a bloody ballet; and in a scene near the end, the hum of an unseen airplane instantly induces dread. In Japanese with subtitles.

Credits

Director:

  • Kaneto Shindô

Cast:

  • Chikako Hoshawa
  • Nobuko Otowa
  • Niwa Saito

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