This is a documentary about the Chernobyl nuclear plant disaster and the political context in which the accident became even worse. BUT BEWARE – like many documentaries – the heavy hand of the director and editor are crafting the story to make points that are less well supported by evidence. Can you tell where the facts end and the assumptions begin? Take note of when the documentary is covering events (Chernobyl, the Cold War) and when it slips into assumptions and fallacies (this happens in the later sections where it ties Chernobyl to modern conflicts between Ukraine and Russia).
The Russian Woodpecker
Watch with a critical eye – learn about Chernobyl, but also be smarter than the director and identify where this documentary slips from secondary source into straight up conspiracy theory.
Submit your historically informed review here for EC. By that we mean – don’t let the movie be all you know about it – connect it with what you are reading and with the lectures. Don’t look up other reviews – this is not a film appreciation class or exercise – and we don’t expect you to know what a film historian or film buff knows – but something in the movie may remind you of something you have seen elsewhere, or it may make you understand the readings, or it may challenge your expectations. That is what we are interested in. Write more than a few sentences, don’t write a dissertation. Have fun watching the film, and have fun writing about it.