The Babushkas of Chernobyl

Winner of awards in 2015 at film festivals in Los Angeles, Woodstock, Santa Fe, Rotterdam and in 2016 at Salem, Sun Valley, Denver, Malmo and Florida

The Babushkas of Chernobyl (directed by Holly Morris and Anne Bogart) is a portrait of a defiant community of women who scratch out an existence on some of the most toxic land on earth, the radioactive “exclusion zone” surrounding Chernobyl’s Reactor No. 4. While most of their neighbors have long since fled, and their husbands have gradually died off, this stubborn sisterhood is clinging to their ancestral homeland despite its toxicity. They share this hauntingly beautiful but lethal landscape with an assortment of interlopers—scientists, soldiers, and even ‘stalkers’—young thrill-seekers who sneak in to pursue post-apocalyptic video game-inspired fantasies. Why the film’s central characters — Hanna Zavorotyna, Maria Shovkuta and Valentyna Ivanivna — chose to return after the disaster, defying the authorities and endangering their health, is a remarkable tale about the pull of home, the healing power of shaping one’s destiny and the subjective nature of risk.

Released in 2015
Running time: 70 minutes

Things to Consider

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