at 7:00 pm on Tuesday, Oct. 14 for Nuclear Nation II, the second chapter in Atsushi Funahashi’s eye-opening documentary series on Fukushima’s nuclear refugees. As in the first chapter, the film patiently observes the ongoing fates of evacuees from the tiny town of Futaba, who were forced to move to an abandoned high school in Saitama following the 3/12 meltdown. Mayor Katsutaka Idogawa, a former cheerleader for nuclear power who began questioning his convictions in the first film, is under fire for refusing to support the co-opting of Futaba’s farmland as a dumping ground for nuclear waste. We watch with increasing stupefaction as the government continues to ignore his demands for empathy and the information vacuum continues to suck hope from the survivors. There is increasing desperation among the 600 residents still in the school, bickering over differing levels of resident compensation, and finally, a new mayor. But whither Futaba? Nuclear Nation II subtly highlights the unanswered questions about the true costs of nuclear energy and capitalism.
(Japan, 2014; 114 minutes; Japanese with English subtitles.)
— Karen Severns