Chernobyl story in festival multi-media event

THIS year’s Salisbury International Arts Festival marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War with a unique multimedia experience about a couple who refused to leave the fall-out zone from one of the world’s worst nuclear accidents, Chernobyl.

Acclaimed at festivals around the world, the screening of Zvisdal is coming to Salisbury for three performances on 1st and 2nd June at the Five Rivers Fitness and Wellbeing Centre.

On the night of 26th April 1986, the failure of an atomic experiment and the subsequent explosion of one of the reactors at Chernobyl caused a drastic change in the lives of the people living in and around the city of Pripyat. About 90 towns and villages in a radius of 30km around the reactor were evacuated. The inhabitants left their homes never to return again.

Petro and Nadia, a married couple born and raised in the village of Zvizdal, refused to be evacuated and refused a newly offered house. They preferred to stay in their own home in their old village, which became a ghost town. All their acquaintances left; houses were overgrown by nature; all utilities and services were closed so there was no electricity, no phone – and no buses. The nearest living soul was more than 13km away.

In May 2011, production company BERLIN met the old couple – both well into their 80s by this time. It was the beginning of an annual recurring visit by the film-makers to Zvizdal. Over four seasons, from 2011 to 2015, the film-makers followed the couple through their daily lives and chronicling life after 25 years of solitude in the fall-out zone.

It will be projected onto to a double-sided screen with additional shots projected into three scale models of the couple’s dwelling beneath the screen.

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