A “very difficult” subject. The film Oppenheimer dedicated to the American physicist father of the atomic bomb was crowned Sunday at the Oscars, winning seven statuettes. But in Hiroshima, the Japanese city devastated by the first atomic bomb in 1945, the film about the creator of this weapon is awaited with caution. In Japan, the film was also absent from cinemas. It will be visible there from March 29.

“Is this really a film that people in Hiroshima can bear to watch?” asks Kyoko Heya, the president of the international film festival in this western Japanese city. More than 140,000 people were killed in Hiroshima and 74,000 in Nagasaki when the United States dropped atomic bombs on the cities days before the end of World War II.

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Initially doubtful, Kyoko Heya, 69, decided to organize a special screening on Tuesday for high school students in the city: “I thought the people of Hiroshima should watch it,” she explains to the ‘AFP. “I saw this film myself from the point of view of a resident of Hiroshima,” she continues, from the city’s Peace Memorial Park, close to where the bomb is supposed to have fallen. and where the ruins of a famous domed building recall the horrors of the attack, as does a nearby museum. Kyoko Heya found the film “very America-centric” and was initially “terrified” to screen it in Hiroshima, now a metropolis of 1.2 million people. “I now hope that many people will watch the film, because I would be happy to see Hiroshima, Nagasaki and atomic weapons become topics of discussion thanks to this film,” she concludes.

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Yu Sato, a 22-year-old student at Hiroshima University who works with survivors of the bombing, said she was “a little afraid” of their reaction and that of their families. “To be honest, I have mixed feelings,” she admits. “Oppenheimer” created the atomic bomb, making this world a very scary place.” And “even if he did not intend to kill many people, he cannot be considered completely free of responsibility.”

Last summer, the simultaneous releases of Oppenheimer and the Barbie film spawned countless memes on the internet, with images combining the two films, which shocked public opinion in Japan, the only country to have suffered a nuclear attack in time. of war. Oppenheimer’s Oscar triumph immediately sparked reactions from Japanese netizens, with one calling the film’s track record “overwhelming” and asking about X “what is this strength?” It must be one hell of a masterpiece.” Another suggested: “Maybe it’s time someone made a movie about the atomic bombs from the perspective of Japan or a Japanese person.” The Martyrdom of Hiroshima was notably brought to the screen with Hiroshima, mon amour by director Alain Resnais, a Franco-Japanese co-production on a screenplay by Marguerite Duras, presented at the Cannes Film Festival in 1959 but excluded from competition due to American pressure .

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In Hiroshima, foreign tourists interviewed confided the importance, in their opinion, of art telling the story even if it is unpleasant. “I was quite impressed by the film, about J. Robert Oppenheimer,” admitted one of them, Singh, 67, from Great Britain. There are always questions about the accuracy of these films, but… I think it’s important that future generations know what happened.” For his wife Jaz Grewal, 65, it is a “very difficult” subject, but “the future generation should not forget, we should never forget, because history repeats itself in an unbearable way,” insists -she.