Movies That Matter: Atomic Mom

Atomic Mom

Courtesy: Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

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Atomic Mom is a feature-length documentary film about two women, both mothers, who have very different experiences of the atom bomb. One is the filmmaker’s mother, Pauline Silvia, who was a biologist in the Navy in the early 1950's and was sent to the Nevada Test Site where she participated in five detonations. At 23 years old, she was one of the few women scientists on an elite team of researchers. After decades of silence, Pauline is in a crisis of conscience about the work she did, work that involved animal testing. In our present moment of Wikileaks, Pauline is a similar whistle-blower having been cowed by the silencing machine of the US military. She reveals some of the grim and dark secrets of the U.S. atomic testing program.
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