From: Tom B Whiteside (email suppressed)
Date: Sun Aug 02 2009 - 06:51:20 PDT
Kind of a late entry on this subject, but IMO one of the eeriest
documentaries in recent years is RADIOPHOBIA, about Chernobyl and the
nearby town of Pripyat. The town was built as one of the last big
Soviet-era projects, a model community with 50,000 residents and 50,000
rose bushes, there's great footage of swim meets and happy community life
in this happy place. It was a company town, everyone worked at the huge
nuclear power plant nearby. You may recall there was a spot of trouble at
Reactor #4 back in 1986, the town was evacuated three days later (!!!!)
and everyone was told they could come back shortly. Of course they
couldn't (most of them) and for this doc you come back to town 20 years
later with a few former residents, including the guy who was in charge of
the hospital (the large sign on the side of the building reads "The health
of the people is the wealth of the nation"). There is one shot I will
never forget, a mummified deer sitting on a hospital bed. Vegetation has
taken over the ferris wheel in the town square, huge ships are abandoned
and rusting in the nearby river. You meet one guy whose job is to
photograph inside Reactor #4 every month.
While watching it, one recalls similar images from dozens of
post-apocalyptic movies, but this is a documentary.
- Tom Whiteside
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