Sunday, 24 April 2016, from 14:30
Ukrainian Cultural Centre, 154 Holland Park, London
3.00pm – Documentary Film: Chornobyl – Surviving Disaster
4.00pm – Interval
4.30pm – Documentary: Babushkas of Chornobyl
Chernobyl: Surviving Disaster (Nick Murphy, BBC, 2006)
The hard-hitting 2006 BBC docu-drama about the Chornobyl Disaster and the subsequent Kremlin cover-up of its real causes, told through the experience of Valerey Legasov, the chief investigator who – out of guilt over the enforced omissions of his final report – took his own life on the second anniversary of the explosion. Directed by Nick Murphy (The Awakening, 2011) and with a superb central performance by Ade Edmondson (The Young Ones, War & Peace).
Babushkas of Chornobyl (Morris & Bogart, 2015)
Some 200 women defiantly cling to their ancestral homeland in Chernobyl’s radioactive “Exclusion Zone.” While most of their neighbours have long since fled and their husbands have gradually died off, this stubborn sisterhood is hanging on — even, oddly, thriving — while trying to cultivate an existence on toxic earth.
Why do they insist on living on farms that the Ukrainian government and radiation scientists have deemed uninhabitable? How do they manage to get by, isolated, in an abandoned landscape guarded by soldiers and rife with wild animals? How has the radiation affected them these past 29 years?
“Starvation is what scares me, not radiation,” says resident Hanna Zavorotyna. That stark choice reveals the incredible journey that the women have traveled: from Stalin’s enforced famines in the 1930s, through Nazi occupation, to nuclear disaster. Like the wolves, moose, wild boar and other wildlife not seen for decades that have come back to the abandoned forests around Chernobyl, the women of the Exclusion Zone have an extraordinary story of survival, and offer a dark yet strangely affirming portrait of post-apocalyptic life.
Directed and produced by: Anne Bogart