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Heavy Water: A Film for Chernobyl

Commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster

Year: 2006, 50 mins
Code: SEV-Heavy

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Phil Grabsky uses Mario Petrucci’s award-winning poem Heavy Water, to tell the story of the Chernobyl nuclear explosion and its catastrophic aftermath.

On April 26th, 1986, reactor four at Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant explodes, sending an enormous radioactive cloud over northern Ukraine and neighboring Belarus. The danger is not immediately communicated and the local population go about their business as usual. May Day celebrations begin, children play, and the residents of Pripyat, the town built to house the workers at Chernobyl, marvel at the spectacular fire raging at the reactor.

After three days, an area the size of England becomes contaminated with radioactive dust, creating a ‘zone’ of contaminated land. This is the story of the people who dealt with the world’s worst nuclear disaster at ground level: the fire-fighters, the soldiers, the ‘liquidators’ and their families.

Directed by David Bickerstaff and Phil Grabsky

"...powerfully imagined” - The Telegraph
"...every frame is a stunning photograph in itself” - The Times
"...haunting images of the devastation” -
Radio Times
"...this is powerful stuff” -
Critic's Choice, Time Out
"...Both an exquisite indictment of tyranny's disregard for technology, and an articulate elegy for human rights. Magnificent” - The Guardian

"the film is good at this, hanging back when the spoken words are so strong that they do not need competition, but only a fitting background that complements the poetry, and then providing a striking image of its own” -
Movie Mail Online

"A tender harrowing film that had the audience left holding its collective breath” - The Scotsman

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