“If you feel at all dizzy, lean on a friend.”
That was the recommendation at the start of The Bomb, the 360-degree installation at New York City’s Gotham Hall, which was the closing night “experience” of the 15th Tribeca Film Festival. It was also echoed in the project’s theme, which takes a stunning, avant garde approach to a plea for nuclear disarmament.
The film was projected on 30-foot-high screens that wrapped around the entire atrium of Gotham Hall, with the synth band The Acid situated in the middle of the room providing live music accompaniment — much of which, especially during the simulated atomic blasts, could be felt deep within one’s bones.
Directed by Kevin Ford, Smriti Keshari, and Eric Schlosser, the film beings in with gorgeous satellite footage of our planet from outer space (Aurora Borealis included, of course) and then comes down to Earth for an ever-timely documentation of North Korea’s provocative military rallies, pageants for the isolated country’s nuclear bomb program.
But the 55-minute film quickly moves on to the grotesque history of atomic warfare, the lion’s share of it directed at the United States, the only country to ever drop the bomb. Yet the experience doesn’t come across as a propagandistic scold. Poignantly, it features clips of mushroom clouds in reverse, so that they appear to be shriveling instead of exploding, as we hear Ronald Reagan’s recognizable voice, saying, “My dream is to see the day when nuclear weapons will be banished from the face of the Earth.”
The Bomb is playing this Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are still available here. And in coming months, the unique and dazzling event will travel to San Francisco, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Berlin, and other locations worldwide. Check out the video, above, and these images, below.