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US film featuring A-bomb survivor Setsuko Thurlow to hit Hiroshima theater on Jan. 22

A scene from the U.S. documentary film "The Vow From Hiroshima." (C) 2019 Not Just a Survivor Film, LLC

HIROSHIMA -- A U.S. documentary film featuring Setsuko Thurlow, a Hiroshima atomic bomb survivor who has dedicated herself to the nuclear weapons abolition movement, is set to hit the screen in this city on Jan. 22.

    "The Vow From Hiroshima" focuses on 88-year-old Thurlow's life from her young days to the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), for which she gave an acceptance speech along with the ICAN's executive director that December. The start of the film's run at the Hatchoza theater in Hiroshima's Naka Ward will coincide with the day the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons takes effect.

    The film depicts Thurlow's memories of her days at what is now Hiroshima Jogakuin Junior & Senior High School and her atomic bomb experience, her marriage and move to Canada, where she got involved in the antinuclear movement and has lived ever since. The documentary also shows her witnessing the adoption of the nuclear weapons ban treaty at the United Nations in July 2017.

    The film' American director, Susan Strickler, co-produced the work with Mitchie Takeuchi, the granddaughter of the director of Hiroshima Red Cross Hospital at the time of the August 1945 U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Her mother is also an atomic bomb survivor. The movie portrays how Takeuchi, a resident of New York, came to face up to her family's bombing experiences through her exchanges with Thurlow.

    Setsuko Thurlow makes an online speech during a preview screening of the U.S. documentary film "The Vow From Hiroshima," in Hiroshima's Naka Ward, on Nov. 25, 2020. (Mainichi/Noboru Ujo)

    During a preview screening held at the end of November 2020, Thurlow, Takeuchi and Strickler addressed the audience via online video. Thurlow said with deep emotion, "Happy moments are occurring at a surprisingly fast pace, such as the Nobel Peace Prize for ICAN and the nuclear weapons ban treaty being set to come into effect. I wished I could've reported these developments to my schoolmates who perished that fateful day. We can move the world if we strive together."

    Director Strickler expressed her hope that the movie will work to change the position of the Japanese government, which has not ratified the nuclear weapons ban treaty, with grassroots power. Meanwhile, co-producer Takeuchi commented, "I hope this film will provide an opportunity for us to think about what we can do."

    (Japanese original by Noboru Ujo, Hiroshima Bureau)

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