ONE NIGHT. 100,000 DEAD. A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT THE FIREBOMBING OF TOKYO.
How could the world's largest city have forgotten that a quarter of it was decimated in a single cataclysmic event?
Just after midnight on March 10, 1945, the US launched a massive air raid on Tokyo, unleashing a firestorm on this dense area of wooden and paper houses. By sunrise, more than 100,000 people were dead, and a quarter of the city destroyed—making it the most destructive air raid in history.
Unlike their loved ones, Mr Hoshino, Mrs Kiyooka and Mr Tsukiyama emerged alive. For years they have campaigned for a public memorial, a museum, and some token compensation for civilians who lost everything. But the Japanese government has refused to formally acknowledge their appeals, and after seven decades, they find themselves cast aside—while former soldiers have been treated generously by the state.
Paper City follows the survivors as they launch a final campaign to leave behind a record of this forgotten tragedy—before the last of them passes away. Weaving harrowing testimonies, rarely-seen archive, and modern-day advocacy, it’s an exploration of trauma, remembrance and the state’s role in gatekeeping accounts of history.
4.5 out of 5 stars
‘Absorbing, deeply unsettling, historically responsible’
Jim Schembri, Melbourne International Film Festival PICKS
4 out of 5 stars
‘Francis observes his subjects respectfully…Paper City is less concerned with conveying horror than it is with honouring, in its own modest way, the survivors’ collective wish for their history to be recorded and remembered’
Awards / Reviews
Melbourne International Film Festival 2021: Australian Premiere
International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) 2021: Online Documentary Market
Nippon Connection Japanese Film Festival 2022: Official Selection
Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2022: International Premiere
Full Frame Documentary Film Festival 2022 (US): Official Selection