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REVIEW: _Gods of Metal_

Mary Vrantsidis — December 1983

A documentary by Robert Richter. 27 min., colour 1982. Available in 16mm or video.

My first thought about seeing the movie Gods of Metal was here’s another anti-nuke film. What could make this one different from the rest? I had a discussion with someone in the peace movement who didn’t understand the connection between the arms race and oppression in our society. I realized that these connections are exactly what this film is about.

What takes the film one step beyond the typical anti-nuclear movie is that it constantly questions the morality of the arms race. It asks, “Is it not a sin to drop the bomb on the people of Hiroshima?” It challenges people who put their faith for the world’s survival in weapons, calling that a form of idol worship, hence the title, Gods of Metal.

In addition, Gods of Metal provides a thorough and concise overview of the relationship between the arms race and social oppression. It shows the physical, mental and spiritual costs to humans of funnelling such disproportionate amounts of money and resources into the arms race. It takes a cold hard look at the cash being poured into weapons’ production at the expense of social services. In one sequence from the. film, a Catholic priest observes that the bomb is killing us now even before one has been dropped. Interview after interview shows what Reagan’s cutbacks are doing to the poor, the children and the elderly in the States in order to beef up the military budgets. The message is clear: Choose life so your children may live.

You will have a hard time forgetting the faces of young people expressing concern for their futures. A teenaged girl doesn’t want to get married and have children because she doesn’t know if she’ll be blown up tomorrow. Youngsters read 5,400 letters to President Reagan on the White house lawn, expressing their fear and anger over having their futures taken away by the threat of nuclear war.

The hope in the film comes from the actions of some of the adults who put their lives on the line and directly challenge the arms race.

A former engineer at a Rockwell International plant making BI nuclear bombers quits his well-paying job to educate people about the destruction the plant is producing.

But it’s Molly Rush, one of the half dozen people who destroyed two nuclear warheads at the King of Prussia plant along with the Berrigan Brothers, who says it best. She believes you have to live like there is a future by confronting the arms race as directly as you can.

Overall, Gods of Metal is an excellent half hour introduction to the disarmament movement for the uninitiated, and it can bring a renewal of purpose to the already converted.

The film is available at DEC films, 427 Bloor St. W. Toronto, xxx-xxxx.