I Am So Sorry-
In the context of contemporary high-advanced technology and totalitarianism, this film presents the predicament of global warming in terms of humanity’s choices about nuclear power. Anchored by a man whose quest humanizes global changes, this film traces the historical events and present situation of nuclear disaster across human society. Every nuclear site he revisits represents a specific temporality - Fukushima, Japan, as the ongoing present; Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan, as the concealed past; Chernobyl, Ukraine, as the forever alienated present, and Onkalo, Finland, as the future of the future. The narrative created through deconstruction and reconstruction of histories provides a new space to reflect on nuclear issues. In this space, a panorama of global apocalyptic landscapes after the nuclear disaster as well as the daily lives of humans on these land is brought to life. The film, visually futuristic yet close to cyberpunk science fiction, seeks to create a human allegory in the present.
In the context of contemporary high-advanced technology and totalitarianism, this film presents the predicament of global warming in terms of humanity’s choices about nuclear power.
I Am So Sorry directed by Zhao Liang Movie Trailer
Nuclear technology is the culmination of human reasoning; symbolizing human advancement at its highest level. And yet, just like Pandora’s box, it may be the most severe threat to humanity that science has ever created. Besides the deadly effects of nuclear weapons, the maintenance of nuclear power plants remains a challenge, since upkeep must be immaculate. Since the 1950s, increasing numbers of nuclear power plants have been built along the world’s seashores, bolstered by the promise of huge financial benefits from reduced emissions and increased energy efficiency. As of April 2017, 30 countries worldwide are operating 449 nuclear reactors for electricity generation, and 60 new nuclear plants are under construction in 15 countries. Nuclear power plants provide approximately 11 percent of the world’s electricity production (70% in France). Running in silence and leaving few carbon traces, the plants stand so far from cities and populations that they seem to exist in separate worlds. But one must shudder upon thinking about how much devastation could result from a nuclear accident. Even today, the most capable scientists are still debating about how to accomplish the formidable task of safely containing high-level radioactive waste for perpetuity. Maybe all we can do is to pray. We pray that the workers at the power plants will never make mistakes. We pray that when a disaster befalls, it will be far enough from our own location. However, as the planet’s resources can hardly satisfy our demand for goods and energy, living in an ecology that may collapse under nuclear explosion or fallout at any time has become a written destiny for humankind. For most of the human population who are striving to make ends meet, the potential fate is especially bleak. When a catastrophe hits, it would be doubtful whether they would know the severity of the situation; it is far less certain whether they could deal with it.
The intractable state of being entangled in the uncertainty brought by the employment of nuclear technology reveals an existential conundrum facing humanity today: that it is ever more difficult for an individual to live a life in the way he or she hopes. Individuals have few options to protect themselves from the negative effect of decisions made by the ruling class. According to the Law of Concentrated Benefit Over Diffuse Injury, a small, determined group, working energetically for its own narrow interests, can almost always impose an injustice upon a vastly larger group, provided that the larger group believes that the injury is “hypothetical,” or distant-in-the-future, or real-but-small relative to the real-and-large cost of preventing it. Political philosopher Hannah Arendt also wrote about the fragility of individual will in our society. She pointed out that, because of the pre-existing “web of human relationships, with its innumerable, conflicting wills and intentions”, an action may never achieve its purpose. Nobody is the author or producer of his own life story. Instead, one can only be an actor or a sufferer of actions. As the lies told by the Soviet and Japanese regimes, as well as the suffering of local residents in the aftermath of nuclear fallout at Semipalatinsk, Chernobyl, and Fukushima reveals to us, when individual wellbeing is at odds with the state’s interest, powerlessness comes to define the individual’s fate. And the misery of small groups of people may be conveniently excluded from official records. How are the victims of past nuclear disasters continuing with their lives? Who is in charge of writing human destiny?“At first, the question was, who’s to blame? But then, when we learned more, we started thinking, what should we do?” Voices from Chernobyl by Svetlana Alexevitch. Therefore, hoping to raise social awareness and contribute to the worldwide debate, I try to create a panorama that shows the predicament of humans nuclear technology, by tracing sites to nuclear production, disaster, or deposit in different parts of the world, as well as the men and women who live and work in such places. Constructing an image narrative with the tone of an essay-poem, I want to portray the workers employed in the various nuclear facilities, everyday images of isolated people still living in exclusion zones, of sick people, especially bor n disabled children in institutions or families. Collaging scenes that reveal how nuclear power shapes human destiny in the past, present, and future, and following two characters haunting disaster- struck locations, this contemporary parable may help us imagine, and highlight, what kinds of enormous consequences may result from our careless decisions today.