In the Shadow of Epidemics and Racism: War and Nuclear Weapons

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In the Shadow of Epidemics and Racism: War and Nuclear Weapons

Why launch a film series about war and nuclear weapons now?
As the corona virus rages across the globe and racism rears its ugly head through police violence against people of color and protestors, we must not forget our ongoing struggle to preserve humanity from climate degradation and the ultimate expression of state violence – the imminent threat of nuclear annihilation.

Eliminating viral plagues, healing our culture of racism, and healing our environment are complex challenges that require enormous ongoing research and resources; eliminating nuclear weapons, is relatively simple. We built them, and we can take them apart. Doing so will pay for itself, and not building new ones will free up enormous sums of money and brain power to work on our more complex threats.

To understand why dismantling nuclear weapons quickly makes so much sense, one has to understand the logic of war, and the history and nature of these weapons. WILPF, PSR and VTIFF have partnered to offer a series of films and discussions to help us do just that, and what can be done to eliminate this threat.

All films are available to stream online for free or for very little money and will be followed by an online discussion. We recommend viewing the films ahead of time and then joining us for the live discussions. Zoom links for ALL discussions will be included in your confirmation email and will be sent to you once you click REGISTER FOR DISCUSSIONS.

1. The Moment in Time: The Manhattan Project

2000 | 56min | Directed by John Bass |
View on Youtube HERE
This Library of Congress and Los Alamos National Laboratory co-production uses interviews and oral histories with many of the key Manhattan Project scientists who helped build the bomb. The film charts the fear that the Nazis were working on an atomic bomb, and follows its development up to the explosion of the ‘Trinity” bomb on July 16, 1945 with scarce consideration given to the population living in the vicinity.

July 13, 7-8 PM Discussion with Tina Cordova, co-founder of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, a community group founded to support families affected by the Trinity test, and Joni Arends, a leading voice against the nuclear weapons industry in New Mexico.


2. Bílá Nemoc (White Disease)

1937 | 104 min | Directed by Hugo Haas (also starring) |
View on Czech Film Archive site HERE (make sure to click on the CC link for English subtitles)
Adapted from a play by Karel Capek, beautifully shot in expressive black and white and written at a time of increasing threat from Nazi Germany to Czechoslovakia. A bellicose, nationalist leader whose plans to invade a smaller country are complicated by a strange illness making its way through his nation. They call it the "white disease. The disease came from China and only affects people older than 45. Some scenes are creepily similar to events of today.

July 23, 7-8 PM Discussion with Orly Yadin of the Vermont International Film Festival


3. Command and Control

2016 | 90 minutes | Directed by Robert Kenner |
View: on Amazon Prime or (free) HERE

PBS Documentary highlighting how close we have come to destroying ourselves in the pursuit of nuclear superiority. Atomic weapons are man-made machines. Man-made machines sooner or later break. A very serious accident, or even atomic apocalypse is only a matter of time.

July 30, 7-8 PM Discussion with Bruce Gagnon, Coordinator of the Global Network
Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space.


4. Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

1964 | 94 min | Directed by Stanley Kubrick | View on Amazon Prime or (free) HERE

Timeless classic starring Peter Sellers and considered one of the best black comedies of all time, an early attempt to deal with the insane contradiction of building civilization-ending weapons to preserve civilization, a contradiction that we have not yet resolved.

Aug 6, 7-8 PM Discussion with Marc Estrin, critic, artist, activist, and author of
Kafka’s Roach: The Life and Times of Gregor Samsa, which explores, among
many other things, the ethical dilemma of nuclear weapons.


5. Threads

1984 | 117 min | Directed by Mick Jackson |
View on Amazon HERE

Dramatization of a nuclear attack on Sheffield, England from a month before, through 13 years after the destruction. May be the most realistic depiction ever made of what nuclear war would actually look like.

Aug 7, 7-8 PM Discussion with Dr. John Reuwer, of Physicians for Social
Responsibility, and Adjunct Professor of Nonviolent Conflict at St. Michael’s

6. Amazing Grace and Chuck

1987 | 102 minutes | Directed by Mike Newell |
View on Amazon HERE

Dramatization of a little league pitcher who is so affected by a routine tour of a minuteman missile silo that he goes on strike until the nuclear threat is reduced, taking professional sports with him, and changing the world. Very entertaining and inspiring movie to remind each of us we can make a difference. Suitable for adolescents as well as adults. (Amazon Prime)

Aug 8, 7-8 PM Discussion with Dr. John Reuwer, of Physicians for Social
Responsibility, and Adjunct Professor of Nonviolent Conflict at St. Michael’s


7. The Beginning of the End of Nuclear Weapons

2019 | 56 min | Directed by Álvaro Orús | Link to View available from July 8
The story of ordinary citizens working over 10 years to make the humanitarian case against nuclear weapons, and battling states with nuclear weapons to adopt the Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons in 2017, with the International Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

Aug 9, 7-8 PM Discussion with Alice Slater who serves on the Board of World BEYOND War and is a UN NGO Representative of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. She is on the Board of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space and the Advisory Board of Nuclear Ban-US supporting the efforts of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)  for the effective entry into force of the successfully negotiated Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.