Ever since the unprecedented destructive power of the atom bomb was released upon Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, artists have explored fears around nuclear armament and the looming potential for total self-annihilation. ‘Two Minutes to Midnight’ is a cinema program that considers how filmmakers have grappled with the moral and logistical questions raised by humanity’s harnessing of nuclear power.
The program encompasses multiple genres and cinematic forms, including gripping depictions of human survival (Barefoot Gen 1983), merciless satires (Dr. Strangelove 1964), unflinching dystopian prophecies (Letters from a Dead Man 1986), and radioactively tinged science fiction (La Jetée 1962). Using the frameworks of traditional feature films, animation, experimental and short cinema, these works explore a topic that is frightening, mesmerising, and almost unimaginable.
The program title ‘Two Minutes to Midnight’ is derived from the time placed upon the symbolic Doomsday Clock in 1953, after both major superpowers tested thermonuclear weapons within months of each other. This was the closest to midnight, which represents the end of human civilisation, that the Doomsday Clock had ever been set, until the perceived failure of international leadership to ease global nuclear tensions returned it there in January 2018 – where it presently remains.
‘We’ll Meet Again’ – Dr. Strangelove and the Nuclear Film Genre
2.00pm Sat 3 March 2018 | Free, no bookings required
Join author and academic Mick Broderick (Murdoch University, Western Australia) for an illustrated talk on the history and development of nuclear cinema — from the immediate post-World War Two response to the lingering atomic fears of today. Followed by screening of Stanley Kubrick’s Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb 1964.
Two Minutes to Midnight: Nuclear Cinema
2 – 18 March 2018