The Ultimate Wish
Directed by Robert Richter
Produced by Richter and Kathleen Sullivan, disarmament educator and anti-nuclear activist.
"...not only very powerful but imperative viewing for the younger generations that have no concept of what “nuclear” means."
—Dr. Helen Caldicott,founding president of Physicians for Social Responsibility, founder of Nuclear Policy Research Institute
"No film on our nuclear madness has so moved me with the promise of our humanity. What a stunning achievement! ... nourishes our deepest hopes ... For the love of life, may this jewel of a film be seen in every classroom and council chamber."
—Joanna Macy, author, Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We're in Without Going Crazy
Moving, unforgettable living witnesses who survived two of the world's most momentous radiation crises: Nagasaki in 1945 and Fukushima in 2011.
They are interlaced with nuclear experts and archival footage, some shocking, illuminating the largely unrecognized connection between nuclear weapons and nuclear power, and the growing global movements to abolish both.
The documentary is both a tragic and an inspirational example of courageous women in the face of environmental catastrophes and an alert to everyone today about the dangers of continued nuclear proliferation and nuclear power.
"...profoundly effective...a wonderful resource for educators...powerful ... As we watched her share parallel memories with a holocaust survivor in Paris, I was struck by their mutual understanding and deep humanity. Their gentleness and commitment to peace stood as an enduring contrast to the barbarities they and their families suffered in government-sanctioned acts of war."
—Dr Rebecca E. Johnson, Executive Director, Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy, London
"Taking on an immense topic in a compact, emotional documentary...Lumping warheads in with the nuclear-power industry makes for an all-or-nothing tone here, but it’s all in keeping with the film’s uncompromising anti-nuke stance. Recommended."
—Video Librarian.*** Three Stars (C. Cassady)
It raises profound questions about war, American foreign policy, technological failure, the courage to survive and the importance of taking positive actions to prevent future nuclear disasters.
Prime focus is on Sakue Shimohira, age ten and hiding in a Nagasaki shelter when the nuclear bomb dropped on August 9, 1945. In one of the film’s most powerful moments Sakue describes her sister’s suicide ten years after the war ended as "the courage to die." Mrs. Shimohira found "the courage to live" and dedicate her life to abolishing nuclear weapons.
Takako Shishido, living in Fukushima at the time of the March 2011 nuclear power plants’ triple meltdowns, tells us what happened and what she would like to see happen now.
We follow Sakue in the company of two Japanese students as they talk to students in London, New York and Nagasaki. We also see Sakue in an unprecedented gripping encounter with a Nazi Holocaust survivor.
Other documentaries about the atomic bomb don’t include what is in this one:
* Challenge of the widely held U.S. assumption that bombing Nagasaki was essential for military victory.
* The Press Code, imposed by the U.S. occupation government, prohibiting Japan‘s media reporting on the bomb or its health effects.
* The Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission, a U.S. agency that gathered data from thousands of survivors, sent that data to the U.S.—not Japan—and did not attempt to ameliorate the health problems of the survivors.
* Crossing generations: an elderly bomb survivor accompanied by students who have taken up her cause.
* The link between the bomb and nuclear power plants.
"According to the oft-repeated quote of the U.S. philosopher George Santayana,"those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it". If the past includes catastrophic events like Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Fukushima, then it is vital that humanity continue remembering both the past and what led to it. The Ultimate Wish: Ending the Nuclear Age performs this essential task admirably and reminds us of what we need to accomplish if we are not to repeat it."
—M. V. Ramana, Princeton University Nuclear Futures Laboratory and the Program on Science and Global Security
"A powerful documentary … a brilliant job of highlighting the shared human dimension of these tragedies… Citizen activism, enlightened leadership in governments and disarmament education together have the potential to point the way to a brighter future for all, one free of the nuclear threats so graphically and compellingly described in this film. We must remember this history and learn from it, lest we find ourselves repeating tragedies of the past."
— Randy Rydell, Senior Political Affairs Officer, UN Office for Disarmament Affairs,
Study Areas: Nuclear Issues, Radiation, Asian Studies, Women's studies, Human Rights, World War Two, Japan, History, Sociology, terrorism, Peace Studies, Environmental Studies, Public Health, Global Studies, Science & Society