This touching, finely wrought documentary by Ilana Sol examines the lasting wounds of war, and celebrates the enduring possibility for human connection. At the height of WWII, the Japanese military deployed a strange new weapon in its battle against North America: the balloon bomb. Sewn from paper by high school girls, the giant balloons were freighted with explosives and set aloft into the jet stream; though many were lost over the Pacific, hundreds of the dangerous, ethereal creations did in fact detonate on American shores. In 1945, a family in Bly, Oregon came across one of the weapons, and setting it off, became the first mainland casualities of the war. On Paper Wings explores the event itself, and traces its aftermath well into the 1980s, when a group of Japanese women, who had once been forced to sew the balloons, learned about the devastating effect of their handiwork.
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