Topaz (1945 film)

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Topaz is a 1945 documentary film, shot illegally (though with the assistance of members of the camp staff), which documented life at the Topaz War Relocation Center in Utah during World War II.


Filmed by internee Dave Tatsuno (1913–2006), it was deemed "culturally significant" by the United States Library of Congress in 1996, [1] and was the second amateur [2] film ever selected for the National Film Registry (after the "Zapruder" film of the JFK assassination).

Tatsuno always credited his store supervisor, Walter Honderick, for helping him get the movie camera into the camp. Film was smuggled out of the camp on trips that Tatsuno made to buy merchandise for the store.

While images appear to show the internees happy and enjoying their lives, Tatsuno said that they were "hamming it up" for the camera, hiding their sorrow. [3]

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  1. "Complete National Film Registry Listing | Film Registry | National Film Preservation Board | Programs at the Library of Congress | Library of Congress". Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA. Retrieved 2020-05-13.
  2. Fox, Margalit (February 13, 2006). "Dave Tatsuno, 92, Whose Home Movies Captured History, Dies". The New York Times.
  3. Ishizuka, Karen (2008). "The Home Movie and the National Film Registry: The story of Topaz". In Ishizuka, Karen; Zimmerman, Patricia (eds.). Mining the Home Movie: Excavations in Histories and Memories. University of California. pp. 129–131. ISBN   978-0-520-24807-6.