Chernobyl, April 26th 1986. Due to the failure of a nuclear test and the explosion of a reactor, the life of the people living in and around Pripyat took a drastic turn. The people of some 90 towns and villages in a radius of 30 km around the reactor were to be evacuated from their homes to never return again.
Pétro and Nadia, a couple born and raised in Zvizdal, refuse being evacuated. They prefer to stay put in their old village, in their own house. A ghost town. All acquaintances have left, their plundered houses bear witness of a former liveliness. Petrified places, overgrown by nature given free reign. Zvizdal shows us Pétro and Nadia, both way over 80, holding on indestructibly in the infected zone and a self-imposed solitude. Without running water, electricity, telephone or mail.
During five years BERLIN travelled to Chernobyl twice a year to spend some time with Pétro and Nadia, to interview them and to follow their life and choices.
How can one bear an isolation of years? How is the couple doing while aging? What if one of them dies? Will other residents follow them to their birthplace or will nature take over Zvizdal after years of free rein?
There are the superstitions, there is the vodka, the muttering, the cursing, the singing, the toothache, the infirmities of old age, the 20 kilometer walk to the store, the waiting for someone from the inhabited world. There is the very old horse and the emaciated cow.
A portrait of solitude, survival, poverty, hope and of love, between two elderly people over 80 years old with all around and in between them thecolourless, scentless but omnipresent radiation.