Film & Media Department Faculty Member Jeffrey Skoller to Release New Short Film, The Unimagined Lives of Our Neighbors

Unimagined lives text large

August 14, 2018

What are the experiences that shape the long lives of those we live among? At 92, my neighbor, Berkeley denizen and Asian art scholar, Joseph Fischer, attempts to recount the life-changing experience of being among the first US Naval seamen sent into Hiroshima and Nagasaki, two weeks after the atom bombs were dropped. As an unwitting witness to one of great catastrophes of the 20th century, we see Fischer examining the photographs he took 75 years ago with a small Brownie camera. As he struggles to remember what he witnessed, he is still trying to comprehend the surreal sight of the total devastation he encountered wandering through the remains of these cities. Fischer scrutinizes the photographs of himself as a young man, standing in front of the piles of rubble and flattened cityscapes in these “bizarre tourist photos.” The film moves between the silent exploration of Fischer’s photographs and his intimate testimony, as he attempts to come to terms with what he came to understand later about what saw and what he no longer can remember.

The film will be showing in Berkeley at BAM/PFA in November.