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Nuclear Waste

He is a truck-driver at a radioactive wastes utilization plant. She works at the plant's decontamination laundry.

20 – 25 | 2012 | Drama | Human Nature | Observational | Ukraine

Nuclear Waste (Yaderni wydhody) is the striking fourth short film by Ukrainian director Miroslav Slaboshpitsky, following Incident (2006), Diagnosis (2009) and Deafness (2010) which represent some kind of “cursus honorum” to his first and highly acclaimed feature film The Tribe: a very hard story on a deaf teenager who struggles to fit into the boarding school system, entirely acted in Ukrainian sign language. An outstandind work that canonize Slaboshpitsky’s particular directing style: raw and minimal, with no music, decorations or redundancies, capable to speak thorugh pictures, and directly aiming to the heart.

Nuclear Waste is no exception but, being a short, it also manages to exploit this format which, in its most interesting formulas, is often poised between stroy-telling, videoart and document, allowing itself to experiment a large variety of languages.

While it looks and feels like it might have begun as a documentary, in its final form Nuclear Waste manages to be a highly stylized work, with very composed shots and a dilated pace functional to the story. It shows and narrate – the two terms here are absolutely superimposable – the daily struggle of people working in a nuclear plant in Chernobyl and focuses on two characters: Sergiy, who drives trucks for a company that processes radioactive waste. And Sveta, who works at plant’s launderette. Their lives have a certain rhythm marked by clockwork precision. But what sets this mechanism in motion? A ‘private ritual’ they perform everyday, motivating them to move on.

Somehow Nuclear Waste is telling us that even under the worst circumstances human beings are still capable to survive and to love. A similiar theme is faced in The Tribe, with much more power and a very different ending, that reminded us a bit of another Italian short film we featured a while go, Cargo, where the rise of the sentiment, in the middle of alienation, can light a ray of hope but also easily turno into violence and revenge.

Nuclear Waste, produced by Arthouse Traffic (same production of The Tribe), won the “Silver Leopard” at LocarnoInternational Film Festival and “The Grand-Prix” at Kinoshok International Film Festival (Russia), it was also nominated as Best Short Film at the EFA 2013 and it was presented in a number of film festivals around Europe.

Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy, 1974, graduated from the filmmaking department of the Kiev State Institute of Theatre and Arts. He has worked at the Dovzhenko Film Studio in Kiev and at the Lenfilm Studios in St. Petersburg. He also worked as a script writer on numerous TV films and published a number of stories.

Tommaso Fagioli

Tommaso Fagioli

Tommaso Fagioli

Founder, creative director, curator @ Good Short Films. Fond of great stories, great thinkers, great booze. My motto is, your motto.

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