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The Babushkas of Chernobyl

SCREENING SOLD OUT

Sunday, May 8, 2016 - 8:45pm
Trailer(s)

The Babushkas of Chernobyl

Holly Morris and Anne Bogart | 
USA/Ukraine |
 2015 | 
72 minutes

The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone looks like a bucolic paradise. The sky is blue, the grass is green, and the fish are biting. As Valentyna Ivanivna states at the outset, there is probably more pollution in Kiev than in the place she calls home. “I won’t go anywhere even at gunpoint,” she states. After the Chernobyl disaster on April 26, 1986, more than 90,000 people were forcibly evacuated and told they could never go home again. But some residents were determined to return, and slowly, a small population trickled back into the region. The Babushkas of Chernobyl follows Hanna Zavorotnya and her sister Sonia, plus Maria Shovkuta and the truly adorable Valentyna Ivanivna. These ladies live in one of the most radioactive places on the planet, but seem little bothered by the terror the place inspires in other folk. With their colourful headscarves and wrinkled-apple granny faces, they cheerfully go about their daily business, planting potatoes, going fishing, and celebrating holidays with generous glasses of vodka. But everything is not as simple or easy as it appears. Visitors to the zone are issued grave instructions about not touching anything, and even young daredevils who visit the place are terrified to drink the water. An even more deadly threat may be at hand, as the women grow older and more isolated. Loneliness becomes almost as dangerous as radiation. -DW


PRECEDED BY

The Meadow
Jela Hasler | Switzerland | 2015 | 9 mins

The contested territory between Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Israel has been the site of conflict for ages. The cows that peacefully graze in the Golan Heights appear little interested in the turf wars of humans. They refuse to acknowledge any borders and go wherever their four stomachs take them. Everything is peaceful, until the cops show up and try to force the inhabitants to vacate the land. But cows are not so easily moved. -DW

Preceded By
Jela Hasler | 
Switzerland |
 2015 | 
9 minutes

The contested territory between Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Israel has been the site of conflict for ages. The cows that peacefully graze in the Golan Heights appear little interested in the turf wars of humans. They refuse to acknowledge any borders and go wherever their four stomachs take them. Everything is peaceful, until the cops show up and try to force the inhabitants to vacate the land. But cows are not so easily moved. -DW

Filmmaker

Holly Morris

Holly Morris a writer, director and producer whose work often explores the lives of risk-taking contemporary women around the globe. In addition to The Babushkas of Chernobyl, her other documentaries about unlikely icons include Behind Closed Chad-ors (Iran), Holy Cow (India), Mana Wahines (New Zealand) and Paradox Found (Cuba) - all broadcast on PBS and broadcast in more than 20 countries around the world as part of the Adventure Divas series.