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HBO’s White Light, Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki debuts tonight

Tonight, HBO debuts White Light, Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a documentary about the two atomic bombs dropped 62 years ago today and Thursday in Japan.

It airs tonight at 7:30 p.m. PT and 10:30 p.m. ET (on HBO West), repeating Tuesday at noon and 10 p.m., and frequently throughout the week. It’s also available on DVD Tuesday.

The film includes “first-hand accounts” from “14 atomic bomb survivors, many of whom have never spoken publicly before,” and “four Americans intimately involved in the bombings,” according to HBO. Director Steven Okazaki uses “rarely seen, intense archival footage and photographs, banned for 25 years after the war, with survivors’ paintings and drawings, all of which convey the devastating toll of atomic warfare in human terms.”

In an interview posted on HBO’s site, Okazaki says the four American soldiers are today “adamant about the necessity of dropping the bomb, and all of them said they had no regrets about being part of it. But they all made powerful anti-war, anti- nuclear weapons statements at the end of the film. And this was not prodded by the film crew at all; the one thing they seemed to clearly have thought about was the future use of nuclear weapons, and about the state of the world we’re in.”

He also says that “what we want to do with the film is not make particular political points, but just the point that the bombs affected the lives of real people, and so let’s hear what they have to say.” Here are two short clips of those people from the film:

White Light, Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki [HBO]

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  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means.

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