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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Nuclear Fears in the Post-9/11 World: IHL Film Series to Feature "Countdown to Zero"

By Cassie Schoon

Nuclear fears may seem like the campy artifacts of postwar paranoia, as dated as atomic-print curtains and foil-wrapped TV dinners. But this conception is soundly repudiated in Countdown to Zero, a documentary detailing the vulnerabilities and current dangers of the world’s nuclear arsenal. The 2010 film, directed by British filmmaker Lucy Walker, screens at 5:30 Thursday, March 10, at the Red Cross as this month’s installment in the International Humanitarian Law film series.

Walker’s film, which features interviews with global players like Jimmy Carter, Mikhail Gorbachev,  Pervez Musharraf, Valerie Plame and Robert McNamara, was once called a “horror” film by The Guardian critic Peter Bradshaw for its revelations on the current state of global nuclear relations.

The film’s anti-proliferation message is in alliance with the current International Humanitarian Law conventions pertaining to nuclear weaponry. In 2011, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, in light of a half-century of work with the Japanese Red Cross following the Nagasaki and Hiroshima bombings, appealed to the world’s nuclear-enabled states to eliminate the use of nuclear weapons.

Despite these global calls to end the global experiment in nuclear arms, the arsenals (about 23,000 operational weapons worldwide) remain. Countdown to Zero makes the case that it’s time to bring those postwar fears of a nuclear detonation from the backburner to the front, and to take seriously the fact that we still live in a nuclear-enabled world. A roundtable discussion of the IHL implications of these issues will be held after the presentation of the film. To RSVP to the event, click here. For more information, contact Tim Bothe.

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