By Allison McCausland
A&E and Online Editor
Staying strong under its “Going Nuclear” theme, the Historical Film Series Committee will be screening the 1983 animated film, Barefoot Gen, in the Trexler Library Air Products Room on Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. Admission to the event is free and open to students, faculty, and the surrounding community to attend.
The “Reel History” aspect of the series comes into play as the film presents the story of a family living in the Japanese city of Hiroshima in the days leading up to the fatal bombing. The titular character, a boy by the name of Gen, must figure out how to survive in the post-war area as the residents of his town are subjected to the after effects of the nuclear radiation.
Based on the graphic novel by Keiji Nakazawa, the film and its source material grant viewers an inside look into how the Japanese remember and interpret the incident since they are the only known country to experience the devastation of a nuclear attack. This contrasts the American-oriented comedy screened last semester, Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worry and Love the Bomb, which gave more of a satirical lens into how nuclear policy and weapons were viewed by citizens since the Manhattan Project’s invention to the Cuban Missile Crisis. The film, itself a Japanese creation, will be screened in its dubbed version.
The subject matter of the film, as well as the overall theme for the 2018-2019 screening season, has been spurred by the renewed nuclear debates and foreign policies that have come to light in the past few years. The most notable of these developments has been the back and forth between United States’ President Donald Trump and North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un to discuss foreign policy, including the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, which culminated in the Singapore Summit held in June 2018.
The screening itself will be introduced by one of the members of the Historical Film Series Committee who will give the audience a brief historical summary and analysis of the United States’ final attacks on Japan’s cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki before the war’s end. In turn, the guest speaker role analyzing the cinema-centric and animation aspects will be none other than Assistant Professor of Computer Science Karen Ruggles. Ruggles’ teaching and research has touched on a variety of digital subjects including virtual storytelling, animation, and digital cinema, granting a unique insight as a panelist for the style and medium the film presents on the subject.
On par with the previous screenings, doors will open at 6:30 p.m., and there will be prize giveaways of movie snacks, a copy of the film, and a copy of the manga for those holding a lucky raffle ticket. Other seasonal prizes will include a raffle for tickets to the TV/film department’s 19th Annual DeSales University Film Festival slated for Saturday, March 23 at 8 p.m. in the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts.
Whether the film itself or the history behind it strikes a chord, or if you’re just bored and looking for something fun to do, come out to the screening for an explosively great time.