After the success of Erik Nelson’s previous archival feature The Cold Blue, the National Archives opened their vaults and allowed previously denied access to over 700 reels of footage covering the harrowing expanse of the final months of WWII in the Pacific, very little of which has ever been screened, and none of which has ever been digitally restored, frame by frame, to 4K. In addition, another treasure was uncovered and restored — astonishing new footage captured by legendary director John Ford. In essence, a “lost film” by Ford, it depicts the ruins of the Pacific Fleet, and the terrible aftermath of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.
Apocalypse ‘45 uses the pristine raw, color film footage to tell a chilling narrative of the last months of the War in the Pacific. Featuring recently completed interviews with two dozen men who lived through these events, their cautionary voices provide the film’s narration, a true “last call” for the last of the Greatest Generation. The film documents events from the flag raising at Iwo Jima in February to the kamikaze attacks and ground combat at Okinawa in April to the first test of the atomic bomb in the remote deserts of New Mexico on July 16th. In addition, we witness the air war over Japan in the summer of 1945, and the still burning ruins of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, when a U.S Army medical camera crew photographed the devastation to both the city and its inhabitants. Apocalypse ‘45 is being released as America and the world grapples with the meaning and consequences of World War II — on this most significant of anniversaries. In English. Not Rated. Director: Erik Nelson (US 2020) 105 min.