So often short films are over looked in favour of their full length counterparts, which is a shame given that shorts are just as diverse as their feature length cousins. Some are low budget, or even no budget, others are big budget spin offs of massive box office hits, some are a couple of minutes long, others half an hour in length, some are political, others about morality, some are about nothing at all, simply a story the filmmaker wanted to tell. All have a purpose, yet for some reason more often than not we seem to pass them over preferring to opt for feature length pictures instead.
However, Danny Cooke’s stunning Postcards From Pripyat, Chernobyl is one that instantly piqued my interest.
I have been fascinated by Chernobyl and Pripyat for a many years now, watched many a documentary, read many an article, even endured 2012 horror flick Chernobyl Diaries, and spent hours looking at pictures of this place, a source of so much pain and suffering to so many across Europe, a place now left to the elements and reclaimed by nature. So unlike most short films, Postcards had me hooked within seconds.
Earlier this year, Devon based filmmaker Danny Cooke visited Chernobyl and Pripyat whilst working on an episode of CBS show 60 Minutes about the Nuclear disaster that took place there on April 26th 1986, which was aired last week, highlighting how despite almost 30 years passing and a 30KM exclusion zone around the former power plant it still poses a huge contamination risk.
There are still relics and little reminders of the Soviet Union that can be found all over the former Eastern Bloc, but times have changed, people and places have started to move on, and a generation has now grown up with no memory of the USSR. Pripyat on the other hand, once considered the height of Soviet modernity, serves almost like a time capsule, a city where time has stood still. The Iron Curtain has fallen and the Soviet Union dissolved, yet Pripyat still stands with its statue of Lenin in the city square and Soviet iconography continuing to adorn many a wall.
Only 3 minutes long and filmed using a drone, Cooke’s Postcards From Pripyat, Chernobyl, presenting a spectacular bird’s eye view of a city stood still and caught in a time long gone by. Offering views over Pripyat showing just how much nature has taken over this abandoned city, impressions you just don’t get with shots from the ground.
Not only this, coupled with beautifully haunting music Promise Land by Hannah Miller, it showcases an example of what the world might be like if human beings were to suddenly drop off the face of the earth and how nature could reclaim our cities in as little as 30 years.
Beautiful, haunting and informative, Postcards From Pripyat, Chernobyl, is well worth taking a few minutes out of your day to watch.