HEAVY WATER – Mario Petrucci

On April 26th, 1986, reactor four at Chernobyl nuclear power station explodes, sending an enormous radioactive cloud over Northern Ukraine and neighbouring Belarus. The danger is kept a secret from the rest of the world and the nearby population who go about their business as usual. May Day celebrations begin, children play and the residents of Pripyat 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 poisoned land.


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Heavy Water – A film for Chernobyl

by Mario Petrucci

Present on the evening

“more an art piece than a documentary but is 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

Based on Mario Petrucci’s award-winning book-length poem, Half Life: a Journey to Chernobyl tells the story of the people who dealt with the disaster at ground-level: the fire-fighters, the soldiers, the ‘liquidators’, and their families. Petrucci’s poetry forms the backbone of the film’s narrative. The poems — absolutely unflinching and painfully precise, yet compassionate — are cut together with revealing archive and evocative location footage of the ghost-town of Pripyat and the surrounding exclusion zone. The poems are read by actors Juliet Stevenson, David Threlfall and Samuel West.

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