Viewers Respond to Stalking Chernobyl

Wantoks
Photo courtesy of Vlad Vozniuk/URBEX



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We have been honored to receive feedback and comments from audience members who have viewed Stalking Chernobyl. If you have watched the film, we invite you to send us your thoughts and keep the discussion going! We can be reached by email at info@culturesofresistancefilms.com.




Bruno B. — J'ai récemment revu The Mirror: Andrei Tarkovsky, USSR 1975 – 107, son film qu'on dit le plus personnel et/ou hermétique et c'est vrai qu'il faut un manuel ou lire par après pour comprendre ce qu'en fait on y voit ! J'ai naguère vu tous les autres films de Tarkovski, que je trouve un cinéaste imbuvable, mais comme toi et tant d'autres - surtout depuis la chute de l'URSS et de l'Europe de l'Est socialiste - semblent tellement l'apprécier j'ai été creuser le personnage et plus spécialement la philosophie sous-jacente à ses films. Et je partage largement ce qu'en dit l'Encyclopédie du cinéma. Coffret de 2 volumes (Tomes 1 et 2) - édition 1995, de Roger Boussinot — Wikipédia. Que je cite à propos de ZERKALO (Le Miroir):

"'Il lui fut reproché d'être “entaché de subjectivisme', et il ne fut accordé que très peu de publicité à sa sortie, mais le film connut pourtant un grand succès populaire, lié au puissant enracinement de Tarkovski dans les réalités nationales.

"En même temps, Tarkovski vit si intensément (et artistiquement) son mysticisme 'russe', qui est une manière d'opposition aux sottises dogmatiques – et à leur tyrannie – mais aussi au 'modernisme occidental', qu'il se trouve pris dans une contradiction, la même que celle du courant dostoïevskien toujours vivace en Russie moderne : la recherche lyrique d'un 'absolu' déclaré d'emblée 'inaccessible' parce que 'sublimation' purement spirituelle d'une réalité reconnue comme raisonnablement inexistante – ni ici, ni là, ni ailleurs... - ne saurait être traduite que par une approche, une quête de 'quelque chose' qui peut-être (reconnaît-il honnêtement) 'n'existe pas'. Pure anxiété, ou ce que l'on appelle 'sentiment religieux' si l'on est croyant, 'angoisse métaphysique' ou 'angoisse existentielle' si l'on est agnostique ou même athée – mais préoccupation 'élevée' et surtout artistiquement féconde (sans être forcément universelle – d'où les limites de l'oeuvre de Tarkovski, même 'intériorisée'). L'émotion n'est plus partagée aussi universellement quand, à la fois poète et et peintre, il divague de la parabole mystique vers les difficiles exercices spirituels de STALKER (1979)."

Il ne faut pas se faire d'illusions sur son orientation politique, plus que "anti-soviétique". Sur Citations de Andreï Tarkovski (35) - Babelio : "Mao Tse Tung est mort. Une nouvelle sans importance. Mais qui fait tout de même plaisir."

Tout ceci ne dit encore rien de ton STALKING CHERNOBYL: exploration after apocalypse que j'ai revu (et j'ai aussi lu ta note d'intention avec ce film). Mais ce sont à nouveau que la catastrophe et ses conséquences pour la population locale, sinon celles pour le monde entier, qui m'intéressent. Car c'est ça pour moi le point de départ, pas ces jeunes en quête d'adrénaline et autres aventureux soi-disant romantiques et je me demande pourquoi tu t'y attardes si longuement et surtout pourquoi tu ne tranches pas la question, le résultat est que ça fait un peu "scoop"au lieu de susciter une réflexion véritable et cohérente.

Le parallélisme entre la menace actuelle du coronavirus -invisible et potentiellement létale- et le danger d'une exposition aux radiations invisibles après une catastrophe nucléaire ?

Pardon, mais depuis la pandémie moi tous les jours en allant simplement faire mes courses je risque autant ma vie que ces stalkers frimeurs! J'ai aussi vu STALKING CHERNOBYL, April 26, online Q&A with director Iara Lee - j'ai surtout apprécié les interventions de Cindy Folkers et Oleg Shalashov - et tu as beau susciter des débats mais au total cela confirme mon impression qu tu n'as pas vraiment point de vue dans ton film comme cela l'était dans bien d'autres de tes films. De sorte qu'à la fin de "Stalking Chernobyl" dire que ton film est dédié aux "bio-robots", liquidateurs et pompiers sonne creux et me semble même quelque peu déplacé. Next time better!



Lillian G., Brazil — Gostei muito, Iara !! Estive lá no ano passado e pude sentir uma variedade de sensações que você pode retratar muito bem !! Parabéns !!



Troy D. — I watched the film, and even my son sat and watched it with me! If you are a student or historian of Chernobyl, this excellent movie experience is for you. The editing was nothing less than superb and highly accurate as well. The film is over an hour long, but as we all know, the story of Chernobyl in real life is even longer. If I was a history teacher, I'd definitely use this film to help me teach my students about Chernobyl because it covers all the major and minor events of the Chernobyl disaster in a way that keeps the viewer interested in watching the movie from beginning to end. I even walked away from the movie with new knowledge about Chernobyl, like how you accumulate more radiation traveling to Chernobyl by air than being at Chernobyl itself. Definitely a movie worth watching, and due to the COVID-19 lockdown, we all now have time to give this film a fair go and watch it! I really enjoyed watching it and it definitely helped my son understand how the Soviet Union functioned and what led to it's collapse.



Janucia V. — Adorei o filme, passado e presente em riqueza em detalhes.



Sheila P. — I just watched the film. Horrific! And Amerikkka is still building a new nuclear power plant and there are plenty of nuclear power plants still working all over the world—and there are plenty of folks who still love those small modular nuclear reactors. What is the matter with the human race?



Leonardo S., Argentina — Gracias Iara! Y felicitaciones por la película de los stalkers de Chernobil. Me pareció excelente!



Sonjia W., United States — I watched Stalking Chernobyl. It is a thoughtful film but difficult for me to watch. My dad wrote books about the Cold War. I grew up very aware of the effects of radiation and military use—the possible annihilation of our planet. My first form of political protest was anti-nuclear war protest. I marched with paper mâché sculptures that accurately looked like nuclear missiles with both a US and USSR flag on the missile head to protest war. Nuclear power is incredibly destructive and the waste it produces is unconscionable. I remember the Chernobyl disaster. I was in Europe in the summer of 1986, given strict orders to not eat any fish and to check food sources carefully. That people willingly expose themselves to the Zone proves Darwin's theory. It is not a danger I would go near. Anyhow, your film gives voice to both the dangers and the thrill-seeking of the stalkers. I also like how you make clear that the disasters will continue. Fukushima was not the last, or even the most recent.



Silvio M., Italy — I really enjoyed Stalking Chernobyl! I think it's really rich—rich with images, topics, suggestions. Knowing that you have an amazing network of collaborators, I think that this participatory model of filmmaking is a successful choice, and that is clear in this documentary. You went so deeply inside the story (and Chernobyl) that it is difficult to perceive the presence of the filmmaker during the movie. In my opinion, this is always the goal.

The abundance of themes that the film touches on creates a wide picture of Chernobyl, seen from such different points of view, but in my mind there were some matters that I'd like to analyze more deeply. Maybe it is because I knew quite a lot about the nuclear disaster (in those years I was actively involved in the no-nuke movement in Italy), but I am really interested in the phenomenon of the stalkers. The fact that these people take big risks to have what can be considered as an emotional experience, especially considering the apocalyptic scenery and that many of the stalkers are the children of liquidators, really intrigues me. I'd also be interested to understand what sort of connections link together the stalkers and some of the extreme sports that are shown in the last part of Stalking Chernobyl—and in general, I'd say that stalking Chernobyl is an extreme sport. With this in my mind, I think that the peculiar story of the stalkers reflects a more general trend and has sociological value, but this topic would itself deserve a whole documentary—and it is not the only topic that could be inspired by your documentary, which has strong links to aesthetics and ecology.



Marcello A., Brazil — Muito bom o filme, ótimo roteiro, enredo e narrativa. Não conhecia sobre os stalkers, mas tornou-se uma atividade. Gostaria de conhecer Chernobyl num desses grupos, apesar do medo. Acredito que há muita radiação ainda. Um jornalista brasileiro, chamado Jamil Chade, do jornal O Estado de São Paulo, esteve aí há uns 3 anos. Realmente é impactante ver uma cidade com pripyat perder sua vida da noite para o dia. Acredito que houve muito mais mortes, principalmente daqueles que podiam se expor por 2, 3 minutos. Também sou jornalista e também gosto de assuntos relacionados à energia a partir de urânio. O Brasil tem reserva de urânio a céu aberto no Ceará. Um dia a iara poderia abordar esse assunto. Por seguir as normas da agência de energia atômica (AEA), só pode enriquecer 5%. Esse valor vc produz as varetas de urânio que são colocadas nas piscinas. O.contato gera vapor e esse vapor gera energia elétrica. Em Chernobyl faltou segurança a partir de uma explosão. Não sei se lá eles fabricavam as varetas de urânio. Geralmente, os vazamentos ocorrem no processo de separação das moléculas. O sistema russo seguia o.modelo mecânico igual ao da Alemanha, copiado ou não. Nessa área houve muitos roubos de inteligência tecnológica. O Brasil criou um modelo que foi copiado por alguns países - me parece que o Irã, antes de ser atacado. Trata-se do.modelo de separação das.moleculas do urânio por centrifugação. Esse centro fica em Aramar, no estado de São Paulo, onde se desenvolve o propulsor do submarino movido a energia nuclear, segundo eles, a Marinha brasileira, um submarino mais rápido e com maior tempo de submersao. Porque estou dizendo tudo isso. Não podemos esquecer Chernobyl e, também, Fukushima, onde talvez os stalkers já estejam por lá. O problema de Fukushima foi a água do mar que invadiu. O filme também me trouxe outra questão: o resíduo, radioativo, foi jogado no mar. A França e Alemanha têm sérios problemas sobre onde depositar esses resíduos. Os EUA idem. Geralmente nos desertos ou fundo do mar. Portanto, para finalizar, duas coisas. 1) Esses acidentes são um alerta para o.mundo. 2) o Irã não enriquecida urânio mais do que 5%. Os Estados Unidos, para atacar, desrespeitou tratados da ONU. Criou pela.midia que o Irã enriquecida. Mentira, porque nenhum país pode deter o ciclo completo. O.brasil tem reserva de urânio, mas o yellow cake, eh feito na Alemanha. Enfim.....aqui tivemos na contaminação de Cesio 137



Olivier T. — The film was very interesting, both as a means of informing the audience about the Chernobyl disaster, which in itself is quite unknown, and as a way of exploring the human and social theme of the phenomena that are developing around Chernobyl.



Rosanna B., Italy — The documentary caught my attention and made me so curious that I had to do some extra research and ask my Ukrainian friends if they ever heard about the stalkers phenomenon. It is truly an eye-opening work, focusing both on history and forgotten (or hidden?) evidence about how dangerous nuclear energy is. From my point of view, I found STALKING CHERNOBYL: exploration after apocalypse a cautionary tale to share with countries where nuclear power is still a fact, and with countries—as like Italy—where, even if its citizens decided unanimously to quit this kind of energy, companies are still buying nuclear power from nearby countries, such as France. Nuclear energy has no place in a safe, clean, sustainable future. Nuclear energy is both expensive and dangerous, and just because nuclear pollution is invisible doesn’t mean it’s clean. The ever-increasing worldwide large-scale natural disasters, the rising of temperatures, and the depletion of natural resources suggest that we should abandon as soon as possible these unsafe energy sourcing methods (not just nuclear power, but also fossil fuels) and switch to renewable ones.

The analogy with COVID-19 also made me think about how nature can self-heal, re-appropriating its spaces, transforming industrial engineering monuments into inaccessible forests: we should pull back and let nature get its spaces, now that we still have time—because tomorrow it will be devastating.

The documentary impressed me most on the human angle, as it shed so much light on that slice of society that found in Chernobyl both a challenge and a shelter, becoming a silent population that even locals are still ignoring.



Samantha Z., Italy — Veramente intenso e bello. Il mio feedback... positivissimo ovviamente!



Kevin, Canada — Seeing how nature was recovering around Chernobyl seems comparable and relevant to how the level of air and noise pollution has dropped in major cities around the world during the COVID shutdown. The air quickly cleared in major cities and noise pollution has dropped worldwide, giving birds and marine mammals a break. In big cities, birdwatchers have all been surprised to hear bird songs again. So it seems that if nature is given the chance to recover, like it has around Chernobyl, it will happen—and very quickly.

Here's a quick, and I think relevant, story: A few years ago, I did a stint as a volunteer at a research station in Haida Gwaii off the British Columbia coast. Deer were introduced to Haida Gwaii in the 1800s and as they had no predators, they completely changed the ecosystem by eating most of the native plants. If you walk in the woods there, all you'll see under the canopy of the huge trees is a thick layer of moss with very few green plants. Environmentalists have been discussing culling the deer to help bring back the natural foliage, but the Haida First Nation was skeptical. None of the Haida elders had ever seen the natural original Haida Gwaii forest as it was altered and destroyed by the deer 100 years ago. So the research station removed all the deer from one small island in Haida Gwaii to see what would happen. Immediately after the deer were removed, the original plants and wild flowers sprouted. Even after 100 years, the seeds were still in the ground waiting for the opportunity to return, and song birds also returned due to the increased cover and food. The Haida elders and leaders were taken to the island. Normally a walk in the woods of Haida Gwaii is easy as there was no undergrowth, just moss on the ground, but on this rejuvenated island you had to stoop and walk under the native berry bushes or push your way through it, and there were wild flowers and song birds again. The Haida elders were so impressed that they endorsed the culling of the non-native deer to help bring back the native flora and fauna. So I think Chernobyl and COVID (and Haida Gwaii) clearly show that Mother Nature can heal the wounds and damage of capitalism if it is given a chance. It's not too late.



Ed D., Brazil — Nao vou comentar o fato em si, que conheço mais ou menos como a media das pessoas bem informadas sobre Chernobyl. Mas confesso que o "stalker" me incomoda: ainda nao sei dizer se è louco ou nao. Do filme, antes de mais nada valeu o subtitulo em italiano.

Caipirinha productions è otimo. O film è inquietante, e dà uma estranha sensaçao entre ver imagens fantasticas que estimulam o bem estar da beleza, em contraste com a cogniçao racional do que significam. Achei interessante o jogo continuo entre esses dois polos: o racional (que te faz fugir) e o emocional (que te faz buscar). Outra coisa interessante è que vc nao aparece nunca. Muitos filmmakers gostam desse protagonismo, filmar a si mesmos enquanto contam o fato. E a dedica final. Gostei, gostei muito. Mas estou incomodado com isso. Sinal que è bom, nè?



Alessandro R., United States — Comunque ho visto il documentario e posso dare la mia critica come utente finale ma anche come regista e direttore della fografia se vuoi:

Come utente finale credo che è molto toccante e fa capire realmente i fatti , cosa sia succasso e cosa succede oggi, e personalmente resto convinto che tantissimi casi di cancro siano ancora oggi colpa di questa catastrofe, dove le radiazioni sono ancora attive e arrivano ovunque.

La natura si è riappropriata del sito ma geneticamente gli insetti, i pesci e gli essere umani sono tutti modificati, e tante nuove specie animali o nascite umane deformate o sane dimostrano cromosomi modificati nel DNA.

Da un punto di vista video, avrei deticato un pò più di cura alla direzione della fotografia ed alla color correction, per cercare rendere leggermente più omogeneo il tutto vista la grande differenza di qualità fra le scene delle interviste ed il resto, ma so che il run to gun rende difficile questo. Infine, il lavoro mi piace , i documentari mi affascinano sempre e le ricostruzioni storiche dei fatti accaduti non sono di facile realizzazione, dipendono molto dal budget e dal tempo che si ha a disposizione.

Io personalmente avrei ridotto il tempo dell'intero film, per avere un totale di 48 minuti, in modo da essere quasi una puntata per un grosso network da mandare in onda, ma questa è solo la mia visione ed il mio parere come regista italiano.



Danny R., United States — I just finished watching the film. It's a very interesting subject that I knew nothing about! The flow and editing were very nicely done. I was just looking into Tarkovsky when you sent this film. You are a big inspiration for me to make films! I'm a photographer but leaning more into learning how to make documentaries.



Steve F., United States — I was amazed at your production of Stalking Chernobyl. The historical and current footage was unbelievable. I don’t know how you could have gotten all of it. The cost of human life from the accident due to radiation poisoning was much higher than I imagined and the recklessness of the modern stalkers inside the Exclusion Zone is staggering. But I could see the attraction to exploring a historical site with no other modern comparison. Well done.



Rosanna B., Italy — I think that the parallels between the Chernobyl accident and COVID-19 are very interesting—how nature re-appropriated its spaces and how the planet can heal quickly. We can learn so much from Earth!



Elena Z., Italy — Ho appena visto il film, molto interessante, moltissimi gli spunti di riflessione e una sensazione di particolare analogia, ma forse è meglio dire risonanza, con il nostro recente vissuto in una atmosfera davvero post apocalittica. Ho trovato il film molto bello e interessante, pensa che sto guardando la serie “Chernobyl” e mi sembra quasi il “prequel.”



Samantha Z., Italy — Certo che l'ho visto, veramente intenso e bello.



Peter H., Italy — I found the film fascinating! A real cutting-edge insight, including into an otherwise rather closed off world (the stalker subculture). I know a Chernobyl stalker and blogger myself and I've sent him the link. I'm intrigued what he'll have to say about the film.



Ed D. — Nao vou comentar o fato em sì, que conheço mais ou menos como a media das pessoas bem informadas su Chernobyl. Mas confesso que o "stalker" me incomoda: ainda nao sei dizer se è louco ou nao. Do filme, antes de mais nada valeu o subtitulo em italiano. Caipirinha productions è otimo. O film è inquietante, e dà uma estranha sensaçao entre ver imagens fantasticas que estimulam o bem estar da beleza, em contraste com a cogniçao racional do que significam. Achei interessante o jogo continuo entre esses dois polos: o racional (que te faz fugir) e o emocional (que te faz buscar). Outra coisa interessante è que vc nao aparece nunca. Muitos filmmakers gostam desse protagonismo, filmar a si mesmos enquanto contam o fato. E a dedica final. Gostei, gostei muito. Mas tou incomodado com isso. Sinal que è bom, nè?



Erkhembayar B., Mongolia — Чернобилийн атомын цахилгаан станцын аймшигт осол үр дагаврын талаар найз продюссер инворонменталист хатагтай Иара Лийгийн бүтээлийг санал болгож байна. өнгөрсөн жил түүний Пакистаны К2 уулын талаар Invisable Footman баримтат киноны монгол орчуулга дээр хамтран ажилласан. Корона гайгүй болвол тэрхүү киноны нээлтийг удахгүй Монголд хийх сайхан цаг ирэх байхаа гэж найдна.



Anonymous, Bulgaria — A fantastic film following life in the Chernobyl region after the big bang just came out recently. Why see it if you already know the story? Because it doesn’t focus on the terror but instead on the reality that comes after. Tragic events often have interesting and unexpected consequences and the movie explores one aspect of the story: a substantial underground culture that has been growing around the exclusion zone. In other words, humans are weird and that’s what makes it all interesting. Here’s a nice example!



Michel M., France — J'ai regardé le film aujourd'hui et bien apprécié. Il y a des images impressionnantes et l'attention est soutenue de bout en bout par le montage et l'excellent travail d'archivage. J'aime particulièrement qu'il n'y ait pas de commentaires en voix off mais uniquement des témoignages. Sincèrement bravo !



Mónica P., Canary Islands — Muchas gracias a ti Iara. Gran trabajo. Te deseo mucha salud y fuerza para seguir en la lucha por construir un mundo mejor desde el sentimiento de unidad.



José O., Portugal — Já partilhei e gostei muito do filme que dá uma visão actual do aproveitamento turístico mas também alerta para o perigo das centrais nucleares .... e esta é a mensagem importante. Parabéns Iara e continua o teu bom trabalho.



Rami, Egypt — Very nice film, Iara! It shows how nuclear energy can be a disaster even if we use it for generating electricity or other peaceful purposes. We need to raise the consciousness of the people who elect politicians and let them know the nuclear risks. If the people in Pripyat had known what was going to happen in their city, they wouldn't have agreed to install the power plant, even if it produces 10 percent of Ukraine's electricity—but you know politicians always have a good reason and say it will be done with high security standards and that there's an urgent need to produces electricity. In Egypt, we will have the first nuclear power plant in 2026 and I totally disagree with it and hope that the project to not be completed. Thank you for this beautiful film and keep producing this kind of documentary!



Christian B., Germany — I loved learning about the region and the history and the actual developments. The surprising scene of "stalkers," about whom I had never heard before, is astonishing, especially for a studied tourism expert like me. I learned a lot. The photography and imagery is very enjoyable and the whole film made me want to learn more about Chernobyl, watch more of your documentaries, and travel again on my own.



Slaven K., Croatia — I just watched your film. I knew it was a very sensitive matter, but it brought a tear to my eye by the end. From one point of view, I am aware (from-the-distance aware) of the disaster Chernobyl is, and the film perfectly depicts the story of humans on this planet as a pest. From another point of view, it also shows the endless courage and sacrifice for others. I have very mixed feelings about going to the Exclusion Zone and having anyone there. I believe people should back off as far as possible from it. Then again, I see all these kids who roam there, searching for their inner self, trying to be daredevils, and I cannot blame them. I am deeply disappointed in humankind, but I also have mixed feelings there. For the film, kudos for doing an amazing job and collecting so much material, so many witnesses, and so much footage. You really do shed new light on that horrific episode. This is amazing work and I believe it needs to be shared with those who are willing to give some attention and focus to it, instead of being fed the mainstream bullshit that turns people into ideal clay for governments to form into whatever they want them to be.



Kalman Z., Croatia — Thank you, Iara. The film was quite new for us. Unbelievable that such things exist. However, it is just an introduction to the forthcoming final apocalypse.



Juliana, United States — I found it interesting that one of the statements in the film was, "You can't see or smell radiation." It sounds similar in many ways to what we are currently experiencing with COVID-19. People don't have it so they think it's a hoax—much like the stalkers...



Don, United States — Given the HBO series on Chernobyl, which was horrifying for me at least, I still cannot get my mind around how the "stalkers" think. The historical footage in STALKING CHERNOBYL really lends a sense of pathos to the film seeing what was lost, and the montage of accidents you put at the end of the film was really compelling.



Forrest L., United States — In November, 2015, I and ten other people spent two days in the Exclusion Zone with an environmentalist. I saw your film and found it consistent with our experience. We never exceeded the maximum safe radiation levels set by UC Davis. We all felt safe.



Melissa S., Brazil — Só vim passar pra avisar que assisti o seu filme Stalking Chernobyl e achei sensacional!! Uma perspectiva que eu nunca nem poderia imaginar! Você tem um mega olhar cinematográfico. Te indico pra todas minhas amigas que querem fazer cinema (principalmente para as amarelas asiáticas). Você é incrível, parabéns pelo mega trabalho.



Beatrice C., Italy — I watched the documentary. It's really powerful and, to be honest, really very difficult to watch. I remember that time, that April 26, and it was a real nightmare, even if I was was still very young. In Italy, we were not allowed to eat anything coming from open gardens, for example. You could feel the dread all around—a very dramatic time. What a powerful movie! Very good, very accurate, and very dramatic, unfortunately.



Fabrice I., Singapore — Nuclear ☢️ safety is a key topic and I enjoyed reading the list of nuclear accidents on the map at the end of the documentary. How to meet our energy needs without relying on oil and gas or nuclear is a great debate. Electric cars are a start, but how to charge the batteries without harming the environment?



Damien M., Switzerland — Wow, absolutely mesmerizing. Thank you for this beautiful film! Stalker is one of my all-time favorite films. This also resonates strongly with the excellent English miniseries about the Chernobyl accident.



Fereydoun B., Iran — Thank you very much for the film. I watched parts of it some days ago on Facebook and just saw the entire film. It is excellent. I am absolutely delighted. I have always been proud of you, but I am even more so now. I am very glad, very impressed.



Patrick R., Thailand — We really enjoyed Stalking Chernobyl! Brilliant use of archive footage and great interviews, access, and pacing.



Wilson R., Brazil — São pessoas como vc e o seu trabalho que me fazem vislumbrar o quão rica é a humanidade. Apesar das catástrofes causadas ou sofridas, causadores ou vítimas, Eu acredito num futuro próspero para a humanidade. Claro, ha muito trabalho a ser feito. Comecemos por nós.



Valantis G., Greece — We just saw your documentary STALKING CHERNOBYL on YouTube and we are very excited about your work and all the new things we learned about our Balkan neighbors. The Chernobyl accident is something that affected our generation in the late '80s.



Sung P., United States — Loved your movie on Chernobyl—the cycle from paradise to catastrophe to nightmare, back to an abandoned paradise. It was very seductive.



Marta L., Portugal — Thank you for sharing another one of your films! It is beautifully made and a message really worth sharing.



Maria A., Greece — I watched your film and it was really good! I saw places I'd never seen before and I learned a lot about this historical event.



Lina Y., Greece — I watched the film and I think it was great—beautifully made under very difficult circumstances and shedding light on the current situation in Chernobyl and the stalkers. A huge bravo to Iara!



Francine P., Switzerland — Iara Lee is an activist director who is offering her movies for free during the pandemic. I just saw the one on Chernobyl. It is fascinating and terrifying at the same time.



Mathias W., Germany — Ich habe Am Wochenende euren Film. Film "Stalking Chernobyl" im web angeschaut. Durch das Englisch im Film war es schwer für mich alles zu verstehen, das russische habe ich gar nicht verstanden. Die Bilder haben mir aber einen Eindruck verschafft was das für ein Wahnsinn war der sich dort abgespielt hat. Der mensch denkt immer er hätte alles unter Kontrolle, aber das ist oft nicht so, Billige Energie sagen sie bei uns, das ist nicht so wenn ich an die 2 Katastrophen und den ganzen Atommüll denke den wir produzieren. Schön zu sehen war das sich die natur sich das alles wieder zurück holt. Macht weiter so ich freue mich immer was von Iara Lee zu hören oder zu sehen.



Code S., Malawi — The film is really awesome! Very insightful. Great cinematography and well researched. Awesome job!



Carl C., United States — Well done! Your style of presentation was profound and captured my attention. This nearly hour-long documentary film is addicting. Hard to stop watching the historical footage and other varying perspectives of the Chernobyl disaster experience. Again, well done!



James S., United Kingdom — I just watched STALKING CHERNOBYL and I wanted to tell you what a beautiful, extraordinary, and haunting film I found it. Some of the images were so powerful that I’m sure they will stay with me for a long time. Thank you!



Frederico D., Madeira Island — The film shows us a side to Chernobyl that I hadn't know: stalking, an activity that gave life to the current tourism that has come to increase over the years in the area, providing a steady income for the few that reside and look after the area. And who knows—maybe in a few decades from now, the area will be completely free from nuclear pollution.



Julia D., Scotland — Thank you. This is a most revealing film. It shows the complexity of the human condition and our long-term response to a tragedy that is manmade. This film highlights the scientific case for closing nuclear reactors by showing the outcome of a nuclear explosion years later in a very empathic human way—it’s not what you might expect! Or maybe it’s no surprise if you live in the Ukraine, Fukushima or Cumbria!



James W., United Kingdom — The film is very interesting and it's amazing you got such great footage and insight from the stalker community. It also raises some interesting questions regarding tourism in places that have seen great trauma. It's a much larger question, and one that I have been mulling over for the last dozen years without coming to a final conclusion. Thanks for making and sharing this.



Spiros K., Greece — I loved your film and hope it raises necessary awareness of a number of thins: nuclear waste, respect in memorial sites, historical tourism, etc. I really like what you're doing in your documentaries; they may depict places we have seen or think we know, but viewed from your alternative angle, new questions come out. How thing are and how things should be...



Asmaa A., Egypt — A beautiful documentary about the stalkers who are obsessed with visiting the city of Pripyat in Ukraine, where the disaster took place and, to do crazy things, even in the banned areas of the city where the radiation rate is still high.



Loretta D., United States — I saw the documentary and I found it interesting and really well done. I applaud and encourage your initiative. Thank you.



Sasha I., Slovenia — I just watched Stalking Chernobyl. Thank you very much for your work! It is amazing. I felt it as healing, as after the Chernobyl series I felt deep sadness and grief about my parents' generation, the liquidators and their families, my friends and relatives, and all the children born in Ukraine and Belarus after the catastrophe and affected by it and its consequences. And your film brings life back to that narrative, without romanticizing or minimizing the impact. You film reminds us that Chernobyl—as painful as it was and still is—is one of about a dozen catastrophes that we have already witnessed and should be ready to prevent in the future. Thank you!



Kamar A., United States — I just watched the movie! I think it’s really very good. Thank you for your hard work.



Kameel N., United States — Beautiful film. Excellent camera work and great script. There was also a radioactive release at the Dimona nuclear plant in Israel. Radioactive material leaked from Israel’s nuclear reactor several times. Arab48 reported that an Israeli court heard recently that radioactive material has leaked from the Dimona nuclear reactor several times since it was built. The film made me want to be a stalker. You do wonderful work, and you're a wonderful person.



Philip A., Germany — Really awesome movie, Iara! A lot of interesting footage that hasn't been seen before. I never thought you could use my grainy YouTube footage, but ending the film with my videos is super cool. Good job capturing the situation of the Exclusion Zone today!



Gloria J., United States — This is a phenomenal film—so comprehensive yet wisely laid out to help the viewer understand the context of Chernobyl and how it’s become a destination for stalkers, of all things. Thank you, Iara, for revisiting this natural disaster, which made the United States revisit its policy on nuclear energy. It’s amazing to me to risk the radiation exposure by visiting the site. And thank you for addressing the gnarly issue of how and where to dispose of spent nuclear fuel rods in a safe manner. Does that even exist? Well done, per usual, Iara Lee!



Ola M., South Korea — The film is so inspiring and informative. It gave me so many feelings. At one point, I felt really sad for those who lost their lives and were affected. I felt so excited to visit the place and yet scared, and it kept me wondering what humans can witness next. Thank you for this film. I learned many new things and it was inspiring in so many ways.



Mary Z., United States — I am old enough (62) to remember when it happened. I have seen many PBS specials on it over the years and watched the Netflix mini-series. I watched how the world came together and slid the cement covering over the reactor. I have watched a documentary about animal life and about very small villages nearby where people refused to leave or where they came back. I did not know about the video game, nor did I know there were so many "tourists" or "stalkers" visiting. It has always been a very sad and disturbing subject for me. I am a very visual person. I was a visual artist (Realist) for most of my life. I read the book Hiroshima by John Hersey as a teen. The visuals I could see in my head from his description were horrifying. When I eventually saw film footage of Hiroshima much later in my life, my imagination had been pretty much spot on. So when Chernobyl happened, I knew from what little information got out how horrible it was. I was only able to view half the film. It was getting me too upset and unsettled—not your work, but the fact that it happened and now the morbid, disrespectful, and dangerous tourism. Perhaps much of my discomfort has more to do with our current world pandemic than the subject mater of your film.



Geraldine N., Mexico — Mil gracias por compartir, el desastre que puede inclusive ser bello ya que la vida sigue. Los animales están presentes, los árboles, y los stalkers con su necesidad de adrenalina. ¿Algún día comprenderán todos los seres humanos la necesidad de cuidar la Vida? La Tierra? Y el lado humano destructivo, y el arte, todo en el mismo espacio de muerte. Gracias, otra vez.



Rowan C., New Zealand — I enjoyed the film. Thanks, Iara! There are parallels between the world [coronavirus] lockdown and the Chernobyl lockdown, even though they are different. I get an adrenaline rush just from having other people in my bubble. The authorities caused the mess—who are they to say what people should do? They aren't our parents and don't know best.



Michael S., Ukraine — Great documentary. Thank you! I'm glad you found all these heroic stalkers.



Alexia J., Canada — I've finally watched your documentary about Chernobyl. I knew nothing about the stalkers of Pripyat before, so it was all very enlightening. The imagery was stunning as well. I found your documentary fascinating and chilling at the same time. Thank you so much for sharing it with us!



Potagas Y., Greece — I watched your documentary Stalking Chernobyl. It's a very balanced film in many aspects: feeling, information, timing. It's definitely a good piece of work. Congratulations to you and your partners!



Stephanie — I watched the film last week. It's an exceptionally interesting film and approaches the disaster in a unique way. It's a frightening film as we don't know when or where the next horrendous disaster may hit. It reminded me of the Three Mile Island Disaster in 1979, when my son was one year old. Great job and thank you again!



Anthony C., Saudi Arabia — I would like to thank you for sharing your lovely film. I really enjoyed watching it! It's not a classical documentary—more of a moving and heart-warming supplemental naturalism that is really well composed and leads to a greater cause. Great job and thank you again



Velychko V., Ukraine — I watched the movie and thought it was very good. I liked the combination of archival footage and new filming. It was really interesting to look at the change from what Pripyat was to what it became. The characters' stories are very strong. I particularly liked the end of the movie and the music.



Nespoon, Poland — I just finished watching your movie and I'd like to say that I really liked it! It shows so many different lives and times in Chernobyl. Congratulations on your hard work!



Britt H. — I watched the film and found it very interesting, especially when the camera followed the stalkers everywhere. Thanks for your incredible work!



Jörg A., Switzerland — Your Chernobyl film is a masterpiece on humanity. It caused a lot of intergenerational discourse in our family—about responsibility, sensitivity, and age. Wonderful! Thank you.



Julian C., Albania — I saw the documentary and it's awesome. Thank you for sharing your great work with me! I love it!



Ranjan E., India — Thank you so very much for letting me watch this amazing and enlightening film. To be precise, it is a wonderful story and beautifully narrated about people, their lives, their untold sufferings, their hopes, aspirations, and belonging. It is indeed a beautiful portrayal of a myriad of emotions. As ever, Cultures of Resistance Films never fails to amaze us. We always look up to and keep “stalking” your new projects and assignments. They are awe-inspiring. Keep up your great works and your spirits. More power to you and your entire team!

Robert B., Albania — I really liked your film! It's very interesting.



Ranjan E., India — Thank you so very much for letting me watch this amazing and enlightening film. To be precise, it is a wonderful story and beautifully narrated about people, their lives, their untold sufferings, their hopes, aspirations, and belonging. It is indeed a beautiful portrayal of a myriad of emotions. As ever, Cultures of Resistance Films never fails to amaze us. We always look up to and keep “stalking” your new projects and assignments. They are awe-inspiring. Keep up your great works and your spirits. More power to you and your entire team!



Nona S., Armenia — I've just finished watching this documentary film for the second time! Incredible work! I'm still under the film's effect. Highly recommend it! Thanks, Iara, for the amazing work you do and for sharing it with us!



Donna R., United States — Thanks so much for sharing your powerful new film. You have introduced me to new meanings for the terms "stalker," "liquidator," and "post-radiation activity tourism." What a fascinating story of how we humans deal with and ignore tragic catastrophes in such surprising ways.



Pouya S., Iran — What a movie! I really enjoyed watching it. The movie really offered an interesting counter movement to a historical disaster. I think you manage to show the excitement and the beauty that is hidden under one of the ugliest accidents of the last century. Yet, one could question, who are you giving voice to in this movie? I didn't mind hearing from the stalkers, but will it impact them and the dangerous adventures they all go through!? It was hard not to think the movie is promoting that. The connection with gaming made it to the top though. I wished to hear more about it and discover more meanings behind that. That's probably something that needs more analytical work than the honest, interesting movie that you project.



Isabel C., Portugal — Muito interessante o documentário, quer o tema e a abordagem, quer as imagens. Sobre Chernobyl já tinha lido “Vozes de Chernobyl”, da Svetlana Alexijevich, e também vi a série mais recente da HBO. Muitos Parabéns.



Катя Н., Bulgaria — I saw your film and I really liked it. It was an unusual experience to see a documentary in three languages - English, Russian, and Ukrainian. It was amazing to see this mass subculture, which has obviously gained quite momentum among young Ukrainians! I knew about the tourism, but I had no idea about those adventure-seeking kids who keep going there repeatedly. I was thinking about the deficits they are probably trying to fill. It is so very sad to me as I was 14 when it all happened and our communist government did nothing to protect Bulgarian people. All the pupils from my school, as well as the pupils from several other schools, were at that time engaged with some mass choreography rehearsals at a stadium in Sofia. We were there every afternoon in shorts and miniskirts, playing and dancing under the April and May sun and occasional short rains—no protection, no warning, not even a clue that the radioactive cloud had been over us. I want to thank you for sharing your film with people all over the world! It is such a noble and humane gesture!



Jawad S., Pakistan — I just finished watching it. What an impressive film and narrative. Loved it, and loved all those stalkers! Such an interesting but ironic subject. I liked the storytelling and narrative editing. Even for an outsider like me, who was not very aware of the subject, I got the whole idea and feel.



Zaki A., Pakistan — I watched the documentary and instantly loved it. Now I want to move to Ukraine! This film brings the fears of nuclear energy back to life,—how volatile it is and the massive destruction it can wreak, even when it’s being used for peaceful purposes. And Russia still hasn’t learned anything, given that it has come up with a floating nuclear reactor.



Paulo N., Brazil/Amazon — Que filme fantástico! Parabéns. Adorei os animais selvagens e a floresta.



Roberto C., Italy — It's very good—really intense! The film is a mirror of the situation in Italy, where the physicians are working without masks and gloves [during the coronavirus pandemic]. I watched it and left a comment of appreciation, but I have to say that I find what the stalkers do to be really ignorant and unhealthy.



Maryse D., Japan — This documentary on the Chernobyl disaster is worth watching. I must say I have watched many films on this subject, but this is unique. It provides information as well as entertains you. The 'stalkers' mentioned in this movie are worth noticing. It is directed by my very talented filmmaker friend, Iara Lee.



Chit D. — Japanese friends will be shocked. I think Fukushima stalking will also happen. The government has lied the whole time about its dangers. Your documentary is timeless. I enjoyed it immensely. I found it disturbing and amazing at the same time. Radiation here in Japan is not an easy subject to talk about. Hibakusha from the atomic bombs, Fukushima... Chernobyl touches our hearts, though I myself would prefer not to touch the zone physically!



Ashutosh P., India — I watched it and I am speechless. Very well made.. It really highlights the pain people went through and moves at a very balanced pace.



Denise D., Guinea Bissau — Lembrar Chernobyl nesse 26 de abril de 2020 nos leva a muitas interrogações no isolamento, quarentena e distanciamento social ... das "soluções arrogantes" de nossas mentes redutivas, simplistas e gananciosas. entrelaçando humanos, natureza em sua utopia de ciência do progresso triunfante na cidade de Pryriat onde Chernobyl havia sido construída. O desastre nuclear mudou o planeta. O filme dirigido por Iara Lee , com suas sequencias de imagens, fotografia incríveis e narrativa bem construída recupera nossa atenção, renova o interesse e nos impõe a continuidade das consequencias do desastre e atualiza o desafio devido aos novos sentidos em meio a destroços e radiação. Vida, morte levadas ao limite da insanidade humana. Impressiona a revitalização e a recuperação pela industria do turismo, a reconversão de destroços em modo de vida. Chernobyl vive nas entranhas das árvores e seres vivos, modificando sua conformação, pemanece estranhamente perigosa. Potente ambiente para reflexões sobre até onde nos leva o positivismo, o cientificismo do século XX, que agoniza mas ainda não se acabou. Será que a ignorânica reinará na simlificação? Iara Lee, parabéns a você e equipe! Ela nos convida para essa viagem.



Gunnar B., Sweden — Thank you for letting me watch Stalking Chernobyl. It was beautiful and scary. In short: a very impressive documentary, especially because you succeeded in depicting the catastrophe, the aftermath, and the young apocalyptic zone fans without main characters. Congratulations!! The actual place—the zone, the city Pripyat—was always present and in the centre of the film in a combination of reality and nightmare. Your use of the archival materials was poetic and brilliant. And your message was clear as poisoned water in the river: nuclear energy production is dangerous and should be stopped as soon as possible. As you stated, "It's not a question of IF but WHEN the next catastrophe will be." But as long nuclear weapons are in production and development, we will have strong, powerful forces and lobbyists defending nuclear energy.

Your film was also as scary as the place itself is. Twenty years ago, I was there to shoot a documentary (The Voice of Ljudmila). Although I was only there for two days, it was obvious to me: this is a place I will never, ever return to. At the time, there were very little activity in the zone but so many strong feelings of desolation and despair. With that as my personal background, I look at the stalkers in your film as representatives of a young generation losing hope in the time of climate change and the upcoming break down of the capitalistic system, a system completely unfit to meet catastrophes like the present coronavirus or the upcoming whatever… As you see, your film brought up a lot of thoughts for me. I hope many will see it, in spite of the present situation.



Jose O., Azores — Gostei muito do filme que dá uma visão actual do aproveitamento turístico mas também alerta para o perigo das centrais nucleares .... e esta é a mensagem importante. Parabéns Iara e continua o teu bom trabalho.



Natan C., Brazil — Acabei de assistir o filme. Gostei muito! Achei muito interessante. Eu não sabia da existência dos stalkers e achei muito legal como o filme mostra as diferentes perspectivas sobre eles e também sobre o que é hoje Chernobyl, sua história e o que ainda poderá ser o seu legado no futuro. Enfim, é um belo filme, parabéns!



Dan G., United Kingdom — Certainly what most resonated with me were the film’s explorations of the Zone’s lasting cultural significance for those ancestrally connected to the land and what it connotes spirituality. With some compelling exceptions, a lot of the stalkers interviewed seemed ignorant of this important emotional aspect, and it raised a lot of questions I might have liked to see the film go into: What differentiates trespassing in the Zone from doing so in a Holocaust museum, or even a holy land? Is it because it’s considered a government site, or because it was just a historic accident? Could Zone access be treated like a birthright for families impacted? It definitely left me conflicted between supporting reclamation from tragedy and considering the Zone sacred!



Catherine G., United States — I just watched the film. It was totally disconcerting to me—that imprecise, sputtering energy pasted onto a site of destruction, death, and horror. Did Ukrainians work on the film? Have people in Ukraine seen it? I'm curious how they feel. My associate producer is Ukrainian and she wishes people wouldn't celebrate and stomp on the traumatic history of that place. So complicated. It just shows that transparency in leadership would be effective but is completely missing.



Ildeberto R., Brazil — Vi o filme completo. Já conhecia alguma coisa do desastre de Chernobyl, pois em Abril de 1987 estive em Estrasburgo e participei, juntamente com outros membros do Partido Socialista de Portugal numa reunião sobre as consequências do desastre para a Europa. Nunca visitei aquele lugar, mas tive sempre essa vontade, misturada com algum receio de ficar contaminado devido à radiação ainda existente. Adorei ver o filme. Fizeste um excelente trabalho. Parabéns! É uma história dum Paraíso que virou Inferno. Hoje atracção turística... Muito obrigado!!!!



Nonhlanhla G., South Africa — I just finished watching the film. Firstly, well done and congratulations! May you reach the masses. I don't really recall nuclear disruptions in our country or continent, and I was totally unaware of the shift caused by this human carelessness. It's crazy and scary, and it does not look like we as human beings are ready to move away from deliberate destruction.



Gabriela K., Poland — I would like to thank you for sharing your film with us. This is a very important part of history to be remembered. As Poland is geographically very close to Ukraine, I remember when I was in primary school at that time and all the kids were told to drink so called "Lugol's iodine solution," which, in retrospect, turned out to be completely unnecessary. But nobody really knew what was going on at that time as the Russians blocked information, and the effects of the radiation were seen over many years, long after the disaster.



Claire B., United Kingdom — I watched the film and thought it was amazing! It's very emotive, informative, and exciting. I did spot myself in there walking through Pripyat, and it was nice to see so many of the people I know. I am sure it will get excellent reviews and I will watch it again and again. I did think it could have been longer—I didn't want it to end…



Anonymous, Canary Islands — Gracias for sharing your art, your feelings! I really enjoyed it. Very artistic images of an immense place. I think you were able to transmit the sensation of an empty space. And the narrative moves you in a special way!



Jonathan G., Brazil — o documentario e bem completo relata o que aconteceu chernobyl e pode mostrar o quao devastador pode ser uso de armas nucleares, e também a inutilidade do ambiente depois do ataque. e quantidade de pessoas mortas e com doenças cronicas.



Lilian R., Brazil — Gostei muito, Iara !! Estive lá no ano passado e pude sentir uma variedade de sensações que você pode retratar muito bem !! Parabéns !! Beijos !



Robbie W., United States — I just finished watching the film—thank you for sharing. Watching videos of what life was like before the disaster made me sad because I already knew how it was going to change their lives forever. I had pit in my stomach while watching and for quite a while afterwards. I really did not understand the idea of tourists going there and disrupting a place, which I feel should be left alone. Like a graveyard—to maybe be seen but not to be defaced and treated like an amusement park. The stalkers were so young and were not around when this happened, so maybe they don’t sense of sadness that I do—for those who lost their lives and didn't know the danger they put themselves in by helping to clean up the mess, for those whose had to abruptly leave their homes, never to return. I am sure their lives were changed forever. I found the film very moving and thought-provoking. Thank you for all you do.



Ustazah S., Malaysia — I don't know what to say. It haunts me that the youth are so interested in this place. It would be interesting to view their psychology. We live in strange times. The youth seem to accept this kind of place and even challenge it to make sense of these kind of disasters that their parents created. It is a good reminder to let us realize how dispensable human life is for the sake of greed and power of a few. The film showed how the disaster happened and how it will continue to happen in places like Fukishima and elsewhere until the world wakes up and realizes how much our daily lives are controlled and worthless to the 'powers that be'. Your ending was good. It is important for people to realize that this wasn't history but that it is continuing to happen and will continue to happen until people come to their senses and resist... if it's not too late.



Lasse L., Finland — The film was really interesting. I remember when the accident happened—it was some scientist who find out abnormal radiation levels near the Russian border. The story is very sad—all those people who had to go there to do the cleaning work. But the subculture of stalkers was interesting, and the artists too. Before watching the film, I didn’t even know they existed. I recommended the film to some of my friends. I like your way of making films. They provide a lot of material for thinking.



Antoaneta N., Ukraine — I watched your film yesterday. Very impressive! I will share with my friends as well. My sincere admirations for what you do—letting the truth be known and not forgotten. The world needs more people like you.



Davina J., Australia — I just watched Stalking Chernobyl and am still taking it in. I see the fascination but can't understand why the stalkers put themselves at risk. This catastrophe will haunt me forever. I remember the fear when it was apparent what had happened... and I was in Australia!! I've taught some Russian and Ukrainian students recently and we had many an interesting discussion about Chernobyl. The photography was great in this film, as was the music. I appreciated the cross section of interviewees too—balanced. The figures at the end were a shock. We really aren't aware of the other catastrophes and near misses we've had. Iara Lee has put together amazing, and eerie, footage of illegal stalkers, tourists, base jumpers, and artists who frequent the Exclusion Zone. It's an easy watch for such a heavy topic. Do yourself a favor in isolation. Congratulations, Iara and everyone involved. Great job!



Hadeel A., Bahrain — I just finished watching Stalking Chernobyl. What poignant imagery of a site that feels like a haunted place. Absolutely stunning! What a moving way to tell the story of those who risked and lost their lives in this tragedy, while also telling the story of those stalkers who find thrill, adventure, and romance in revisiting this site. I was probably 10 when Chernobyl happened and it felt like the end of life. I remember it so well because at the time I was reading a lot about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and I was so affected by what I read. I have to watch The Stalker. Well done for bringing attention to this and other nuclear tragedies.



Anna P. — I recommend you watch this. It raises a lot of questions and I found it challenging. Using a blend of old footage and new, the film explores the relationship between the tragic past in Pripyat, the town directly affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, and the present. Post-radiation-disaster tourism has become a source of income for the region. Meanwhile, a growing number of illegal explorers try to incorporate past events and move forward in their own way. Who's to say whose approach is right?



Anastasyia K, Ukraine. — Film perfekt! Єколог й арт діяч,мені дуже сподобалось й як єкологу-з науковоі точки зору,й як митцю-з мистецькоі точки зору. Круто



Christian N. — eine beeindruckende Dokumentation!



Anonymous viewer — This is a fascinating and extremely well made film about a bizarre subculture; highly thought-provoking. Obviously, we don't agree with the views of some of the people in the film, but they are presented as opinions, not fact—and you get an extraordinary inside look at the tourists, stalkers, and extreme sports enthusiasts who explain why they are drawn to Chernobyl, despite the obvious risks, which most of them fail to take seriously. There is also an impressive amount of pre-Chernobyl footage of Pripyat and a powerful warning at the end.