An amusement park in the city of Pripyat was due to be opened on the 1st May 1986, but the Chernobyl nuclear disaster occurred just 3 miles away on April 26th.
The park’s owners opened the park for a couple of hours the following day for the people of Pripyat before the city was evacuated. Eerie images of the deserted Pripyat Amusement Park now permeate the visual representation of the city’s desolation.
This original film with live performance of a brand new score by Robin Richards (Dutch Uncles) combines the immediacy and energy of live music with the magic of cinema, revisiting a dramatic and devastating historical event using personal and scientific narratives to draw out the tensions and truths at play in our collective cultural memory of this unfathomable event.
Clara Casian’s evocative and revealing film is underpinned by nuclear research, and incorporates found and previously unseen archival footage with original material filmed on location in Ukraine, while Robin Richards’ original score for piano, strings and synthesisers is based on first hand testimonies of Pripyat residents, liquidators of the Chernobyl plant and evacuees to his hometown of Stockport and nearby Glossop from Ukraine and Belarus.
The pair made a four-day research trip to the Cherobyl exclusion zone in May 2016 to meet with local artists, filmmakers and historians, collect original footage and archival material. Find out more at at www.pripyatbirdsong.co.uk
Preceded by the short film Wizard, by Nick Middleton. Score by Robin Richards.
This project is supported by The Arts Council, HOME Artist Film and The University of Salford.