Documentary

Green Caravan Film Festival Screening: Babushkas Of Chernobyl

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Location

Frontline Club, Paddington

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Green Caravan Film Festival Screening: Babushkas Of Chernobyl

This could easily be the inspiration behind Mad Max

From 29-31 October, the Frontline Club is hosting screenings as part of the Green Caravan Film Festival, a travelling festival of environmental and socially conscious films. 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. Running time: 1 hour 12 minutes. Directed and produced by: Anne Bogart.

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