Underrated Films presents: Radio Bikini

Bitter, Bitter Balcony, Movie Review, Radio Bikini 1988Robert StoneRobert StoneJohn Smitherman, Kilon Bauno Bitter,Bitterometer,meter Radio Bikini(1988)

Bikini Atoll is a small, lost paradise in the waters of the South Pacific. In 1946, the island would be the site of the 20th century’s most horrible arsenal on display, sadly procured by our own country. Operation Crossroads was conducted by the U.S. Navy as an experiment to study the repercussions of a nuclear attack. Bikini Atoll was used as the base for the tests, driving the aborigines from their homes while service men and women could reside there during the length of the mission. “Radio Bikini” is a documentary of the events; a compilation of stock footage intertwined with testimonials by Bikini native Kilon Bauno and Navy veteran John Smitherman.

“Radio Bikini ” is perhaps a biased account of the controversial operation, one that places the American government as a self-righteous power that toys with the lives of its soldiers. While historians could debate the consequences or justification for such tests (and the film could be accused of lacking counterpoints), we were disturbed by the surreal nature of career documentarian Robert Stone’s first feature.

Hollywood depicts the nuclear era with deity-like onslaught of a mushroom cloud, but “Radio Bikini” captures the man-made weapon in the realistic, fearful awe that no special effect can render. What makes it all the more terrifying is the look of the servicemen’s faces who are as unaware as white mice in a snake tank. Combined with the cryptic use of a Hawaiian–inspired folk score, Stone’s film succeeds as a solemn mood piece about the effects of exposing a virginal turf to an all-potent artifact of destruction (as of today, Bikini Atoll is uninhabitable). Alas, the climatic image of “Radio Bikini” is truly the stuff of horrors, a testament that breaks hearts and makes for nightmares.


Official website:
Radio Bikini

Radio Bikini1988Robert StoneRobert StoneJohn Smitherman, Kilon Bauno  Radio Bikini1988Robert StoneRobert StoneJohn Smitherman, Kilon Bauno 

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