The Babushkas of Chernobyl

The Babushkas of Chernobyl


October 30, 2015, 1:30 PM


Main Street Landing Black Box
60 Lake Street, 3rd floor


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Directed by Holly Morris & Anne Bogart | 2015 | Ukraine/USA | Documentary | 72 mins
Special Jury Award for Directing at the Los Angeles Film Festival
Sponsors: Vermont Council on World Affairs
Film Source: Filmmakers

Twenty-nine years ago, on April, 26 1986, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant’s reactor No. 4 blew up after a routine test. The resulting fire lasted 10 days, spewing 400 times as much radiation as the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Despite the severely contaminated ground and government objections, a community of amazingly strong, no-nonsense and self-sufficient “babushkas” (meaning “grandma” in Russian) remains. These proud, charming, witty women defied orders to relocate because their connections to the homeland they grew up in were stronger than the fear of radiation. What better proof of the power of “home” than the fact that they are still alive? In Holly Morris’s totally immersive film, we watch in awe at their resilience (where are the men?) and at the same time laugh at their wit and humor. After all, who can resist the babushka who cheerfully toasts, “Goodbye, brains … see you tomorrow,” before downing a shot of vodka.