The babushkas of Chernobyl

The babushkas of Chernobyl

Streaming Video - 2015 | Ukrainian
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In the Chernobyl "Dead Zone" or "Exclusion Zone," the film's central characters - Hanna Zavorotnya (80), Valentyna Ivanivna (72), and Maria Shovkuta (85) - are the last survivors of a community of "self settlers" who refused to leave their ancestral homes after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986. "Shoot me and dig the grave," Hanna told a soldier who tried to evacuate her, "otherwise I'm staying." She'd survived Stalin's famines and Nazi atrocities on her motherland - she wasn't going to flee an "invisible enemy." Over the course of a year, the film follows the women's journeys, and those of visitors, including: the chief of an environmental testing team, a postal worker making her rounds, a 23-year-old female Chernobyl official, a science journalist, and a group of toxic thrill-seekers called "Stalkers" who break into the Zone illegally for radiation thrills. The film captures extraordinary locations and moments, from radiation spikes just feet from "the sarcophagus" of nuclear reactor No. 4, to the Zone's sole remaining religious ceremony - Easter midnight mass in the decrepit Chernobyl church. The film's characters and observational style reveal seemingly conflicting layers of a complicated story: Chernobyl is the ancestral home of a community with deep and old roots - but the contaminants will survive far longer than the region's culture; the Zone is toxic, yet full of life; the story is steeped in a patriarchal post-Soviet environment, yet is rife with powerful "grandmothers." How do all of these realities live together? This portrait of a community tells a remarkable tale about the pull of home, the healing power of shaping one's own destiny and the subjective nature of risk.
Publisher: [United States] : Cinedigm, 2015.
Branch Call Number: eVideo hoopla
Characteristics: 1 online resource (1 video file (approximately 70 min.)) :,sd., col.
digital, rda
video file, rda


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Feb 07, 2017

Im ukrianian myself, 4th gen in canada. I brought the video for my dad to watch and he enjoyed it and so did I. Brought memorys of our own babas and how hard they worked. A must watch.

Dec 24, 2016

Brilliant documentary. Touching, kind and revelatory about elderly women living solitary and rugged lives who just wanted to be 'home'. That place happens to be near a permanently damaged and leaking nuclear power plant. It is a very strange, but normal looking and rewilding land of wild animals, bureaucrats, sensation seekers and a small group of women living off this land--growing food, tending chickens--who enjoy visits from old friends. They sing old folk songs and live a Christian life, in spite of having grown up in a Communist state. An important film about place, identity and what being alive means.

Dec 10, 2016

There are two versions of the documentary on this disk. One is 52 minutes. the other 72. One of the documentaries has been shown on TV, maybe on POV or Passionate Eye. It is a fascinating look at women who returned to the Exclusion Zone around Chernobyl after being evacuated in 1986. The women returned to the Motherland rather than living in the cities where they were evacuated to. These Babuskas were living off the land, planting gardens, collecting forest plants and berries for health remedies, raising chickens, chasing wild boar from their gardens, making moonshine, and once a month collecting their pension in town.

The Russian government has a research centre within the Exclusion Zone that keeps track of the movements of radiation and keeps records of the women's health. There is also work being done to build some structure to cover the initial sarcophagus that was erected shortly after the meltdown. The sarcophagus that was erected is disintegrating and the dust is and will be releasing more radiation into the air.

The younger generation from the cities who are into video games, enters the Exclusion Zone with their Geiger counters to explore the city of Chernobyl itself to get in close to the sarcophagus to see the damage, destruction and wander through the derelict buildings. A highly dangerous adventure.

Interesting documentary, with a warning to other countries with nuclear plants to have some sort of plan in the event of a nuclear meltdown. Russia has a large area in which to exclude Chernobyl from the rest of the country.

Interesting documentary. Good subtitles, and some English.

Oct 17, 2016

My new heroes!

Amazing and fascinating.

Oct 09, 2016

Great documentary with courageous women.

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Aug 04, 2017

Tjad2L thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


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