Pripyat, Austria, 1999, 100 min, 35 mm, Health, History
Pripyat is the name of a town that is located five kilometres from the Russian nuclear power station Chernobyl. Until 1986, the year of the catastrophe, it had some 50,000 inhabitants; today it is a deserted and heavily guarded ghost town. The power station itself is partly operational again, but the workers are no longer living within walking distance of the plant. They go to work by bus every day. Around the nuclear station, a safety radius of 30 kilometres may have been created, but nobody knows the exact influence and consequences of the radioactive radiation. Some farmers in the area have stayed, and just keep growing and eating potatoes. An elderly couple got permission to go back. They have now been living safe and sound in the vicinity of the plant for 12 years.Strange as it may be, in this beautifully framed black-and-white film by the Austrian director Nikolaus Geyrhalter, the region takes on an almost idyllic aura. Former residents of Pripyat who still work at the power station, think back wistfully about the old days. Too many questions have remained unanswered, while life and nature just seem to go on. Radiation or no radiation.
Director of photography:
Nikolaus Geyrhalter, Wolfgang Widerhofer
Nikolaus Geyrhalter Filmproduktion GmbH
A-1180 Vienna, Austria
IDFA 1999, Amsterdam, Netherlands
IDFA 2008, Amsterdam, Netherlands