The Atomic Cafe (1982)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.  

USA, 1982.  The Archives Project.  Produced by Jayne Loader, Kevin Rafferty, Pierce Rafferty.  Music by Rick Eaker.  Film Editing by Jayne Loader, Kevin Rafferty.  Boston Film Critics Awards 1982.  

Interesting, almost comical look at the age of nuclear terror. It begins with the dropping of the A-bomb at the end of World War I, to the nuclear testing on Bikini Atoll, through to the Cold War and the culture of fear that dominated the fifties and sixties. Pro-American, anti-Communist propaganda films, commercials and ads are examined in this absorbing look at a culture gone completely mad, its ideals often based more on issues of consumerism and capitalism and less on ideals of virtue or morality. Directors Jayne Loader, Pierce Rafferty and Kevin Rafferty really penetrate the psyche with their footage by not including any voice-over narration or even talking-head interviews (other than the ones found in stock footage)…sometimes there’s a level of madness that simply speaks for itself. The Bikini Atoll footage was later used (along with a lot more wonderful material) in the superior documentary Radio Bikini.

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