Cameron's Nagasaki-Hiroshima film to happen?
We heard that James Cameron and the author Charles Pellegrino met with Tsutomu Yamaguchi, one of the few people who was in both Nagasaki and Hiroshima during each of the atomic explosions and survived them both, to discuss making his, and the other survivors stories, into a film so that no one would ever forget.
Now Pellegrino has been talking about the meeting, the story, and the possibility of the film, and it looks like there's no way that James Cameron could say no to it, and from what Pellegrino says they might already have been working on it.
Tsutomu Yamaguchi was one of an estimated three hundred people who escaped from Hiroshima after the first atomic bomb was dropped there by the Americans during World War II. They travelled to Nagasaki as an escape, mostly by train, and it was there where the second bomb was dropped.
Out of the estimated three hundred people who arrived in Nagasaki only about thirty survived the second attack, and Charles Pellegrino's novel, The Last Train from Hiroshima: The Survivors Look Back ( / ), tells their stories.
Reuters through has the story about the novel, revealing that the book is far from an easy read. Here's an extract of what The New York Times review had to say about it, unfortunately they don't credit them with a link:
Early on, witnesses saw what Pellegrino calls "a tap dance in Dante's Hell" -- a man ran past them flapping his arms, making no noise but the clicking on the road of his two tibia "chipping and fracturing with each step against the pavement."
Eyeless and faceless people, with only red holes discernable in their blackened heads indicating mouths, murmured strangely "like locusts on a midsummer night. One man, staggering on charred stumps of legs, was carrying a dead baby upside down."
The smell of burning flesh was likened to that of grilled squid with "a few pieces of sweet pork thrown alongside."
That sounds like an incredibly tough story to read and to see. However there was humour in the story too, believe it or not. Apparently a doctor had his eyesight corrected because of the blast, and years later he joked:
"Of course, I would not recommend nuclear detonations as a means of corrective eye surgery"
There were stories of hope that came out of the stories too, like Sadako Sasaki who survived the blasts aged two. She contracted leukaemia and during her treatment she folded one thousand paper cranes as therapy and as an example to others.
There are some amazing stories to come out of it and some terrifyingly shocking ones. You could perhaps wonder how such stories could be told on film, or should be. The author is clear as to why they should:
"Mr. Yamaguchi called us to him, literally to hold hands with him and gave us each this assignment...
...We have to figure out how to go forward with this project. With Mr. Yamaguchi dead it's our destiny to."
It's clear that this is more than any other projects that James Cameron may be looking at, this one is the wish of a dying man. He goes on as to why they should make the film:
"People seem surprised to hear that two cities were hit by atomic bombs. The amnesia has got to such a point that I hear people around me in the U.S., even in my own family, using phrases like 'nuke them.'"
Talking about the idea of the film he said that he imagined a film that was in 2D for the footage and interviews with survivors and 3D sepia toned reconstructions of the events as they happened.
It sounds as though they are well ahead with the concept of the film, and considering the technology that James Cameron has available to him after Avatar (Filmstalker review), it would seem as though he's got the capability to take the audience right into ground zero.
However if they do make this film I have to say that they need to show everything, they need to show the complete horror as described above and in the book, if the horror is missed out for any reason, then there's the real danger of the film becoming nothing more than a joyride 3D experience with some emotionally harrowing interviews around it.
The horror of the reality needs to be shown, perhaps not in the completely graphic form as the book describes, but to be effective it has to show the harsh reality of what happened to these people.