May 01, 2011

Contemplating Chernobyl

Contemplating Chernobyl
Valeria (Anton Shagin) contemplates his future. Kino Bez Granits

Just as Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus were preparing to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the deadly Chernobyl nuclear accident (April 26, 1986), the world faced a harrowing reminder of the possibility of nuclear catastrophe, as Japan’s Fukushima plant experienced multiple partial meltdowns, spewing radioactive material into the air and water.

By some estimates, Chernobyl impacted some 10 million people in the European part of the former USSR, both in terms of critical radiation exposure and displacement. That impact, and the eerie yet invisible proximity of death in the immediate aftermath of Chernobyl’s explosion, take center stage in the new film, Innocent Saturday,* perhaps the first drama about Chernobyl made in Russia.

The Chernobyl accident occurred in the wee hours of a Saturday morning, a day off for workers in the town neighboring the plant, which ensured maximum radiation exposure for locals.

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