Atomic: Living in Dread and Promise

  • Mark Cousins
  • United Kingdom
  • 2015
  • 71 min
  • Focus: It Still Hurts
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The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that brought an end to World War II demonstrated the appalling and destructive power of the atomic bomb. This bold documentary looks not only at death in the atomic age, but also at the living who have benefitted from the medical applications of nuclear technology. Compiled from archive footage from the British Film Institute, NASA and CERN, the kaleidoscopic images get an added impetus by a soundtrack from the Scottish band Mogwai. 

Atomic shows us an impressionistic mixture of our nuclear times—protest marches, Cold War clanging of arms, government films giving us handy tips on what to do in the event of a nuclear attack, old scientific films, and stories from the people of Chernobyl and Fukushima. Filmmaker Mark Cousins doesn’t shy away from showing the most horrific images, but there’s also the sublime beauty of the atomic world, both at the tiny end of the scale and the vast, such as in the sun. He shows how X-rays and MRI scans have saved and improved human lives. The nuclear age is a nightmare, but it has also made dreams come true.


Atomic: Living in Dread and Promise
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Thu 21 November - 12:30 - 13:44
Munt 9

Atomic: Living in Dread and Promise
Add to FavoritesAdd to Favorites

Thu 28 November - 12:45 - 14:16
Munt 10


  • 71 min
  • color / black and white
  • DCP
  • Spoken languages: Japanese, English
  • Subtitles in: English
Mark Cousins
John Archer for Hopscotch Films, Mark Atkin for Crossover Labs Ltd., Heather Croall for Crossover Labs Ltd.
Timo Langer
Sound Design
Kahl Henderson
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IDFA history

Focus: It Still Hurts
International Premiere

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