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Directed by Jayne Loader, Kevin Rafferty, Pierce Rafferty

United States 1982 86 mins. In English

Composed entirely of found footage, The Atomic Cafe offers a darkly humorous leap into the abyss of cold war–era hubris, stitching together PSAs, educational films, newsreels, and other propaganda-based ephemera related to the nuclear scare of the 1950s. Cafe lets the source material do the talking, as students “duck and cover,” politicians bluster on about nuclear superiority, and military training films claim that “viewed from a safe distance, the atomic bomb is one of the most beautiful sights ever seen by man.” “A comic horror film. Everyone should visit The Atomic Cafe.”—J. Hoberman, Village Voice



The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.