On an August morning in 1945, the inhabitants of Hiroshima set out for another day at work. In minutes a sudden flash reduces the city to a nightmarish furnace strewn with rubble, crumbling corpses and charred survivors. Presently, this gut churningly graphic opening switches to what appears to be a rural idyll some five years later; in a small village, a family who escaped have settled down in an attempt to regain some sense of purpose in life. But radiation sickness takes its toll, and the bulk of Imamura's emphatically serious domestic drama charts the inexorable decay of the entire social, psychological and moral fabric of a community. Rarely does the film preach, and only the repeated rantings of a demented army veteran - so OTT as to be unintentionally comic - break the consistently understated mood. But despite the largely sensitive depiction of waste, suffering and despair, the often ponderous pacing and the script's solemnity tend to work against emotional involvement. Grimly compelling viewing, but perhaps a little too determinedly gloomy for its own good.