Films Contemplating Peace, Column 1 “The Postman from Nagasaki”
©️The Postman from Nagasaki Film Partners
The people at Johakyu, which operates the “Hatchoza” and “Salon Cinema” movie theaters in Naka-ku, Hiroshima City, which show over 200 films a year, will introduce films they recommend with the theme of, “Films contemplating peace that you should see now”.
Hatchoza, a movie theater in downtown Hiroshima, the city of peace, screens films relating to peace every summer. “The Postman from Nagasaki”, which will be shown at Hatchoza from August 5th this year, is another documentary film that we hope you will see during this season.
Townsend Peter, author of the nonfiction novel “THE POSTMAN OF NAGASAKI”, which was the inspiration for this work, is a former Air Force colonel who heroically served as a pilot in the Royal Air Force during World War II. His romance with Princess Margaret after the war was reported worldwide, and is said to have later become the motif for “Roman Holiday”.
Later, Mr. Townsend began writing about children around the world who had been victims of war, and met Mr. Taniguchi Sumiteru in Nagasaki, whilst visiting to gather information for research. Mr. Taniguchi was a victim of the atomic bombing whilst working as a postman at the age of 16, and though receiving severe burns on his back, miraculously survived. He has been sharing this experience both in Japan and abroad, whilst continuing to advocate for the abolition of nuclear weapons. In 1984, Mr. Townsend published “THE POSTMAN OF NAGASAKI”, which was based on interviews he did with Mr. Taniguchi. Mr. Townsend and Mr. Taniguchi had a strong, lifelong friendship, that transcended their positions as an ex-soldier of a victorious nation, and an A-bomb survivor of a defeated nation.
The film “The Postman from Nagasaki”, is a documentary film directed by Kawase Mika, who had communicated with Mr. Taniguchi while he was still alive. He follows actress Townsend Isabelle, Mr. Townsend’s daughter, as she retraces her father’s footsteps in Nagasaki through interview tapes and accounts in his writings that were left to her.
Both Mr. Townsend and Mr. Taniguchi have now passed away, and the number of people who pass on stories about the tragedy of war to future generations is decreasing year by year. Neither Isabelle nor Kawase, the director, has any direct experience with war, but they resolved to make the film because they felt it was of great importance to pass on to future generations, the lessons for peace that their parents’ generation had experienced.
Director Obayashi Nobuhiko, a native of Hiroshima, used Picasso’s “Guernica” as an example and said, “Art such as films and paintings is journalism that will never be forgotten.” Moreover, he also said that art has the potential to convey the desire for peace to the hearts of people, more powerfully and extensively than words can, and that it will never fade away because it has been passed on as a work of art.
The importance of peace is being passed on to future generations by Mr. Townsend through his novels, by Ms. Isabelle though drama, and by the director Kawase through his films. We hope that movie theaters will also be “postmen” that convey the thoughts of these expressive creators to the audience through the screen.
■ “The Postman from Nagasaki”
■ Released Friday, August 5th, Cine Switch Ginza and other theaters nationwide
Director/Cinematographer: Kawase Mika
Composer/Editor: Oshige Yuji
Executive Producer: Karasawa Tetsuo
Producers: Townsend Isabelle, Takada Akio, Sakamoto Mitsumasa
Production Assistant: Sakamoto Ayumi
Planning and Production: ART TRUE FILM
Production: The Postman from Nagasaki Film Partners
Cast: Townsend Isabelle, Taniguchi Sumiteru, Townsend Peter
2021/Japan/Japanese, English, French/97 min/ 4K/Color/2.0ch/Japanese Subtitles: Ogawa Masahiro, French Translation: Matsumoto Takuya
©️The Postman from Nagasaki Film Partners
Official website: longride.jp/nagasaki-postman
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