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Merilyn Fairskye


Twenty-five years ago Reactor No.4 at Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant exploded. In the aftermath, people, and radiation, were dispersed across the Soviet Union. Over 600,000 “liquidators” participated in the cleanup. 8,000 people still work there to contain the contamination.

Precarious is a road movie.  The journey starts, 1,000 kilometres away, in Crimea, in inverse direction to the flow of contaminated water from Chernobyl, via the Pripyat and Dnieper Rivers, to the Black Sea.  It takes us right into the heart of Chernobyl. To Reactor No. 4.  Our companions are an unseen group of people who have experienced Chernobyl at first hand.

The nearer we get to Chernobyl, the film passes through a bleak, snowy landscape, littered with deserted villages, now engulfed by trees, as nature reasserts itself.  Further on, houses lie buried, ghostly, under a layer of toxic clay. The power plant itself sits in a vast iced-over lake, its structures terminally damaged, incomplete, obsolete. The abandoned city of Pripyat, blanketed by thick snow and heavy silence, is a place after the end of the world.  

Paradoxically, for locals, ice and snow provide protection against radiation, as they trap radioactive materials that still linger on.  With the spring, flooding will occur, and once again contaminated water will run from the Pripyat River to the Black Sea. 

Avoiding the conventions of a standard documentary approach, Precarious is a haunting evocation of ordinary people’s capacity to endure, in the face of technological failure and state secrecy on a grand scale.

66 minutes
See video
– via YouTube