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By now, nine years after the meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant on March 11, there have been many books and documentaries about the disaster. Setsuro Wakamatsu’s “Fukushima 50,” however, is the first film dramatization to focus on front-line workers whose labors prevented a far greater catastrophe.

Based on a non-fiction book by Ryusho Kadota that compiled more than 90 interviews with everyone from plant rank-and-filers to former Prime Minister Naoto Kan, the story has life-or-death drama, with workers struggling to open vents as their allotted minutes in radiation hot zones tick by.

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