Flowers will bloom.

Takashi's and Midori's final resting place

Takashi’s and Midori’s final resting place – 1st May 1951

63 years ago today, on May 1st 1951, Takashi Nagai – the “Saint of Urakami” passed away.

It was a short but full life. In his 43 years he had managed to fit in a lifetime of accomplishments and created an enduring legacy through his teachings and writings.

The good doctor, although more or less bedridden in his final years, worked tirelessly to make Urakami district (ground zero) a place where “beautiful flowers will bloom”.

He left behind copious essays, memoirs, drawings and calligraphy on various themes including God, war, death, medicine, and orphanhood. These enjoyed a large readership during the American Occupation of Japan (1945–1952) as spiritual chronicles of the atomic bomb experience.

His work towards the spiritual restoration of his country led to him being honoured as a National Hero of Japan, and in 1991, “The Takashi Nagai Peace Award”, was founded to annually promote writings and essays on “love” and “peace” from all over Japan.

As befitting a man born into a Samurai family (Samurai means “to serve”) he has recently been honoured by the Catholic Church with the title “Servant of God”, the first step to sainthood. But to many people in Nagasaki and around the world, Takashi Nagai is already considered a saint.

Walking around Nagasaki today you will still find a living legacy  to the spirit of Dr. Nagai. Surrounding Urakami Cathedral are the cherry trees he planted shortly before his death. They defied science which declared that no life could grow there for 75 years.

Nagasaki is indeed a city that has risen from the ashes. It is a city where the past has left its indelible shadow forever imprinted upon its surface and on the collective consciousness of its inhabitants, but it is also a place that embraces the future, a city that continues to grow and bloom.

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We’ve made the news in Japan!

News of our film has been picked up by the Asahi Shimbun, which is one of the five national newspapers in Japan.

Directors, Ian & Dominic Higgins and Lead actor Leo Ashizawa were interviewed for the article. The English version can be read here.

All That Remains in the  Asahi Shimbun.

All That Remains in the Asahi Shimbun.

The aftermath sequence takes shape…

As we prepare to film more scenes next week, the footage from the previous shoots is taking form in the edit suite…

Takashi (Leo Ashizawa) confronts the destruction, aided by Nurse Hashimoto (Leila Wong)

Takashi (Leo Ashizawa) confronts the destruction, aided by Nurse Hashimoto (Leila Wong)

Still

Vera Fenlon’s special make-up FX helps bring the horrors of the atom bomb to life.

Actress Michelle Yim portrays a victim of the bombing.

Actress Michelle Yim portrays a victim of the bombing.

Nicholas Lue-Fong plays Makoto

Nicolas Lue-Fong plays Makoto

Matron Hasimoto (Kaya Yuzuki) and Nurse Hashimoto (Leila Wong) coming to terms with the horrors of the A-bomb

Matron Hisamatsu (Kaya Yuzuki) and Nurse Hashimoto (Leila Wong) coming to terms with the horrors of the A-bomb

Nicholas Lue-Fong plays Makoto

Nicolas Lue-Fong as Makoto Nagai

Fat Man is conceived – video clip

Below is the scene where Prof. Peierls writes up the memorandum which lays out the details necessary to construct a super bomb. This information would lead to the building of Fat Man, the atom bomb which destroyed Nagasaki.

The clip is pre-sound mixed

Our Indiegogo campaign is going great, thanks to everyone who has so generously contributed! Check it out by clicking the link below!

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Nagasaki No Kane – A song for Nagasaki and a thank you.

As a thank you to all those who have been so generous in their donations to the production costs of All That Remains so far, we’d thought we’d share this very special memory from our trip to Japan with you.

When visiting Fr. Paul Glynn, author of “A Song For Nagasaki” in Nara, to interview him for our movie, we did not expect to get such a fantastic welcome, a welcome which included a wonderful meal (washed down with sake) and the above performance by Opera singer Yumiko Okada of the song “Nagasaki No Kane” (The Bells of Nagasaki) which was the theme song for the 1949 movie on Dr. Nagai. We think you’ll agree, it’s a very beautiful and powerful song and a stunning performance by Mrs Okada.

Remember every penny really does go a long way to helping us reach the finishing post! If you have a few dollars to spare and fancy being a part of this amazing project click the link below!

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The Bells of Nagasaki

The Resurrection scene

On Christmas eve night 1945, from the atom bombed ruins of Urakami Cathedral, the  Angelus bell rang out its message across the wasteland for the first time since that fateful day.

These are the bells that did not ring for weeks or months after the disaster. May there never be a time when they do not ring! May they ring out this message of peace until the morning of the day on which the world ends.” – Takashi Nagai  – The Bells of Nagasaki

This is one of the most important scenes in the film as it represents the ‘story of Nagasaki’ in a few powerful images.

Raising The Bell

It takes faith…

… to raise the bell

Actors, Tanroh Ishida and Mark Roy Tsai get to grips with one of the key scenes in the film, with no props, just an actors best tool, their imagination…

Raising The Bell

Looking down on Urakami…

Christmas Eve

“People say that Nagasaki is famous for persecution and devastation, for it has known much in it’s history. But Nagasaki is not the only place that has experienced both persecution and destruction… The reason Nagasaki is famous, is because it is rebuilt, because it has always survived.” – Takashi Nagai

Once again we would like to give special thanks to Fr. Paul Glynn, Mr and Mrs Yoshida and the people of Nara for their recent generous donations and for their on going support.

We will be uploading a few rough cuts of some of the scenes we’ve been working on very soon to the ‘Production Hub’.

Recreating “that day” 67 years on…

Nagasaki 1945

Nagasaki, August 9, 1945

Today is the 67th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. So it’s fitting that in just two days’ time, our cameras will roll on filming the harrowing events of that morning in 1945.

Logistically these sequences will be the most complicated as they will involve working with lots of extras and a team of special make-up effect artists in an area the size of a small football field, covered in rubble and timber, and of course, all at the mercy of the English weather.

Using archive photos and storyboards created by the directors Ian and Dominic Higgins, authenticity is the number one concern.

Aftermath boards

Pre-visual artwork for the  A-bomb aftermath sequence

Aftermath board

Previsual reference art for the aftermath sequence

Aftermath board

Previsual reference art for the aftermath sequence

The newest member of the production team, Nigel Davey has been responsible for finding the extras and the location – and he’s done an amazing job!

“When Nigel called us to tell us that he’d found a location that might be ideal, we had no idea just how ideal it would be!” explains Dominic.

“By the time you see these shots in the film, you’ll never believe it was filmed right in the heart of England,” adds Ian.

A big thank you to both the land owner and his very accommodating site manager Alistair for their incredible generosity in allowing our crew such open access and the freedom to do what we need to, in order to best re-create “that day”.

On location

Dominic, Joel, Ian and Nigel on location – August 9, 2012

The Japanese community in Birmingham have also been amazing in their response to our call for extras, far exceeding our expectations.

We’ll be posting some stills here on this blog, so keep watching this space!

Meanwhile, with the latest draft of the script now completed and the cast selected, we’ve decided to upload a few clips from a selection of the auditions we’ve held over the last few weeks to the “Production Hub” section.  For those of you who have access to this area, you can check those out right now!

“We’ve had such a high calibre of performance during these auditions, we’re really looking forward to working with this cast!” says Ian.

“It’s taken a long time, but we now have a cast who will give us exactly what we were looking for, characters you will believe in, characters you will care about.” concludes Dominic.

Filming for the main drama scenes will take place in the first two weeks of September.

A Song for Nagasaki… and Hiroshima.

One of the things we hope to achieve with All That Remains, is to bring the story of the atomic bombings more into popular culture, so more people are made aware of these events.

With that in mind, we thought we’d post a blog about how the atomic bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima have been remembered in popular music through the decades…

THE BELLS OF NAGASAKI (Nagasaki No Kane) was written by poet, Hachiro Sato for the 1950 movie of the same name. It became one of the most enduring hits of the decade in Japan and was even played daily on the speakers at the train station in Nagasaki.

 

Wishful Thinking’s HIROSHIMA album was first released in the UK on the B&C label in 1971.

Initially the album made little impact however, in 1978, the album was re-released by Global Records and sold well in excess of 1,000,000 copies in Germany, where it remained in the charts for 41 weeks. It has since gone on to become the 17th bestselling single in Germany since charts began.

In 1990 it provided German singer Sandra with one of her biggest hits, when she released the song on her fourth studio album Paintings in Yellow.

 

ENOLA GAY is a song by British synthpop band Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD). It was written by front man Andy McCluskey and was released as a 7″ single on 26 September 1980. ENOLA GAY reached number 8 in the UK charts and topped the charts in Portugal and other European countries. An early version with a slightly different arrangement appears on the group’s Peel Sessions 1979–1983 album.

 

English punk rock band, Crass released the single NAGASAKI NIGHTMARE on their own label, back in 1981.

 

In 2002 Bryan Ferry released his album Frantic which included the track, HIROSHIMA, written by Bryan Ferry and Eurthmics Dave Stewart and inspired by the 1959 movie, Hiroshima mon amour. It features Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead on guitar.

 

HIROSHIMA-NAGASAKI RUSSIAN ROULETTE was original written and performed by American folk singer, Jim Page. It was later covered by Irish folk singer Christy Moore who in 2007 was named as Ireland’s greatest living musician in RTÉ’s People of the Year Awards.

 

More recently…

A THOUSAND PAPER CRANES is a track from the album, Walking Cloud and Deep Red Sky, Flag Fluttered and the Sun Shined  by Japanese experimental rock band Mono, released in 2004. The album comes with origami paper and instructions on how to fold a paper crane.

The song is inspired by the true story of 12 year old Sadako Sasaki, who after being diagnosed with “atomic bomb disease” (leukemia), turns to her native Japanese beliefs and makes one thousand paper cranes so the gods will grant her wish to be well.

 

A Thousand Suns by American rock band Linkin Park was released on September 10, 2010, under Warner Bros. Records. The album’s title comes from the Hindu Sanskrit scripture, the Bhagavad Gita:

If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the mighty one,”

A quote made famous by J. Robert Oppenheimer in reference to the atomic bomb, which references the numerous apocalyptic themes of the album.

THE REQUIEM/THE RADIANCE/BURNING IN THE SKIES

 

THE RADIANCE (ZWIER.Z. REMIX) OFFICIAL HD MUSIC VIDEO

 

LOST IN AUGUST is a song that deals with the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, from Japanese Electro / Hip Hop / Rock band, 5th Blood.

Contains language that some people may find offensive.

If you know of any other songs about  the atomic bombings then let us know…

The Seamless Art

The painterly look of All That Remains.

As All That Remains will contain lots of archive material spanning from Pre-World War Two Japan to Post atomic bombing of Nagasaki, a lot of effort is going in to cleaning up and restoring these archive shots, and this work has had an impact on the intended visual style of the movie.
Directors Ian and Dominic Higgins are keen to explore ways of seamlessly blending the archive material that we have with any dramatic reconstruction scenes. Ian Explains, “this way, when we cut to the archive shots, during the dramatic reconstructions, the audience isn’t taken out of the drama, and consequently that vital emotional connection isn’t broken”.

“We have lots of amazing archive footage and we want to use as much as possible, but we like the idea that you can’t always tell what is real footage and what are shots that we’ve re-created on computers,” adds Dominic. “Of course, there will still be times when it’s obviously archive material as some of the footage is so badly damaged, but that’s OK, as it’s also part documentary there will still be moments taken from a retrospective point of view anyway– we just don’t want the drama sequences to be punctuated with the sense of distance from an event, that you get when watching old footage.”

“We always like to push the boat out both visually and from a story telling point of view and  I don’t think there’s been a film shot quite like this before, with different elements  blended together and given this pseudo painterly look – the idea of mixing in real people from the time and real recordings of actual events with the reconstructed sequences using actors and CGI this way feels more natural and the scenes will have much more potency,” concludes Ian.

Below are some more stills showcasing the “painterly look” and how it helps blend the different elements together.

Painterly look

Painterly style

Painterly style

Painterly style

Painterly style

Painterly style

You may have noticed there is another link on the menu called Production Hub, which is password protected, well, you may remember when we were running our Indiegogo fund raising campaigns, certain perks promised privileged “peeks behind the scenes” on some of the sequences in progress and other areas of production development/design – well this is where we’ll be posting them.

In fact, we’ve just uploaded a video sequence testing out the painterly/graphic style discussed in this blog – as it is also part of a key sequence in the movie (the atomic bombing) we’re keen to keep it under wraps at this stage, hence it not being posted in the public section of this blog, but for those who purchased the relevant perks, if you haven’t already, you can see it now!

Those who purchased the relevant perks on our indiegogo campaign should have received their passwords to unlock the page.  If you haven’t, then email us here.

You can also check out the personal blog of Ian and Dominic Higgins for more on the techniques and ideas behind the movie.

Digital Make Over

Digital make-up FX

Further blurring the line between what is real and what is digital...

As we mentioned in our previous blog, we’re now working out how to best maximise the budget and resources  that we have, in order to be able to convey the original vision of the movie without sacrificing on quality.

An example of one area where we’ve had to think outside the box is the special make-up effects required for some of the key scenes in the movie, namely the post atomic bomb sequences.

While traditional make-up and prosthetics will be used in these scenes, the extent to which they will be utilised will obviously been restricted by the limited budget we have to work with, but determined to do the sequences justice, directors Ian and Dominic Higgins have decided that several of the special make-up effects will also be created digitally – that is, added to the actors in post-production.

Using sophisticated “tracking” software, the “digital prosthetics”, which will be created using a combination of digital painting techniques and 3D modelling, will be mapped to the faces of the actors after they have been filmed.

Digital make-up

An actress with "digital make-up" applied. The face is kept shadowy, but we see enough to grasp the horrors and devastation inflicted by "Fat Man".

Although we don’t, in any way, intend to be gratuitous with what we show, we are adamant about conveying the events we are depicting as authentically as possible, in order for audiences to greater appreciate what Dr. Nagai and all the other survivors of the atomic bombings went through. Only by doing so, can we really appreciate their pleas for “no more Hiroshima, no more Nagasaki”.

For more on this story and other glimpses of the artistic and technical development of the movie, visit the blog of Directors Ian and Dominic Higgins.

Warning: Due to the nature of the subject matter, some posts on this site  will contain graphic depictions of wounds and other images of war and destruction that some people may find disturbing.