Director: Mikhail Belikov
Screenwriters: Mikhail Belikov, Oleg Pridhodko

Institute History

  • 1991 Sundance Film Festival


Director Mikhail Belikov is recognized as a leading antinuclear activist in the Soviet Union. Raspad (Russian for "decay") is a chilling statement supporting his views, a fictional account of the slow, invisible death in the face of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. He spares no effort in expressing the scope of the disaster and the hysteria it creates, the insanity that results from people who have resigned themselves to their fate. Despite the appropriate epic proportions of Raspad, Belikov takes care to emphasize the individual human factor. The film highlights a journalist, his family and friends, as they try to deal with a disaster which trivializes their existence.

Belikov was granted special access to the power plant and the town of Pripyat, which housed the plant workers and is now a deserted, quarantined area. The film climaxes with the "Albinoni Adagio," performed by the Adelaide Symphony, swelling out in Dolby Stereo as we silently helicopter over the abandoned city of Pripyat to make a grisly discovery. Metaphorically akin to the silent battle sequences in Ran, the death that rains down here is slow, invisible, and silent.

— Alberto Garcia

Screening Details

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