Funahashi’s “Nuclear Nation” films follow the residents of Futaba, who were evacuated after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami triggered meltdowns at the nearby Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex, dousing their town with radiation and turning it into a “no-go zone”.
In the broader region, tens of thousands were forced to flee.
He filmed the first installment, which premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival less than a year after the disaster, at an abandoned high school in a Tokyo suburb where 1,400 Futaba evacuees were living in classrooms.
“Nuclear Nation 2”, produced by Documentary Japan and Big River Films, picks up from New Year 2012 and covers a two-year period. Evacuees at the school wish each other well for the coming year, admire New Year cards and chat over “bento”, single-portion takeout meals, trying to maintain a semblance of normal life.
Funahashi’s lens deftly captures a television news program in the background reporting on the nuclear regulator and the problem of decontamination, underlining the issue at hand and foreshadowing discontent to come.
The government is keen to restart the country’s reactors once they pass tougher security checks imposed after the Fukushima disaster, to reduce reliance on expensive imported fuel. Last month, the nuclear regulator approved the restart of a nuclear plant in southwestern Japan.
Public mistrust of atomic power remains high, however, and Funahashi says he will keep making “Nuclear Nation” films to show the human side of the nuclear equation.
“We are the ones who used the power from Fukushima Daiichi. I feel, as a filmmaker, responsible to keep making this film as long as the Futaba people’s refugee life continues,” he said.
- New Film Shows Human Cost of Fukushima via RiaNovosti