Review

  • As a big fan of Geyerhalter's work, especially "our daily bread" and "elsewhere" I was a little bit disappointed after having watched "Pripyat". There are some very good scenes with the typical qualities of Geyrhalter. Very accurately set, photo-like pictures and - of course - people who are willing to openly show how they live, like the old couple living within the forbidden zone or the guy responsible for the still working block 3 of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

    Unfortunately "Pripyat" is missing substance to fill the time. There are just to many scenes which show nothing new or which are just not important. For example we are following a former inhabitant of Pripyat on her old walk home. After 30 seconds we know that there are bushes and trees on the roads and paths. But we have to follow her for another five minutes, watching bushes and trees. Or there are some Scientists taking some water samples from a frozen lake. This takes another five minutes and could as well have happened anywhere else in the world.

    The low density of factual information in some scenes is even aggravated by the use of black and white material. Many things you are seeing are extremely difficult or not at all identifiable due to the lack of color. It's just black in black. I suppose many pictures just looked not disturbing enough and Geyrhalter tried to give them a strange mood by taking our the color.

    Without the superfluous scenes and with color "Pripyat" would be a great documentary about living and working in an area contaminated by radioactive radiation after the collapse of a nuclear plant. But in the and "Pripyat" is a quite fatiguing experience interrupted by some highlights.