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Streaming or Skipping: HBO Max's "Chernobyl: The Lost Tapes", a cool collection of tragic archived footage

HBO Max DocumentaryChernobyl: Lost Tapeis highly regardedChernobylThree years after the mini-series was dramatized, it arrives on-site horror and political tensions as a result of the fateful nuclear power plant explosion. It was also completed by director James Jones, just below the network. He secured previously classified footage from Ukrainian collaborators just days before Russia's invasion of the former Soviet state, home of the Chernobyl accident. The resulting documentary is entirely composed of almost invisible footage, from the fun scenes of Chernobyl's prosperity before the tragedy to the tragic moments of the next few days, months, and years.

CHERNOBYL: Lost tape: Stream or skip.

Key points: The Lost Tapessuperimposes the archived footage on the archive with witnesses, locals and officials (survivors, all) Endured a recent interview. The trial of Chernobyl. The story begins in 1972, when the city was a hopeful place and a symbol of optimism in the Soviet Union. The nuclear power plant provided young people with an average age of 26 in the city with the opportunity to have a good job and a happy family. In the scene of state propaganda, Chernobyl will be "the largest power plant on the planet", the city is very robust, the maternity ward is full and more "atomic cities" are to be built. It was a blueprint for. Russia. Faced with the question, the authorities assured everyone that the plant, a illustrious star of Russian engineering, would never explode, and everyone believed it.

From here, fear builds up exponentially. At 1:26 am on April 26, 1986, you will hear an emergency call to the firefighters. A female interviewee says she looked out the window and saw a mushroom cloud swirling over the plant. The plant engineer woke up to the sound of the alarm clock at 6 am and got on the bus to work. He was unaware of the accident until he saw the wreckage through the window of the bus. He reported to his station and saw the night shift men. They were exhausted. One is deadly pale. The effects of the enormous radiation had already had an extreme effect on their physical condition. Our narrator shook hands with a colleague and later found that simply doing so would increase radiation exposure to the right side of his body.

Meanwhile, life continued as usual in Chernobyl. The children went to school and played in the playground. The mothers pushed the baby stroller down the sidewalk. There was no contact from government officials, no sense of urgency, and no instructions to keep people indoors and reduce radiation exposure. 36 hours passed before the bus arrived to evacuate people. Information began to flow little by little through international news reports. Radioactive particles were drifting into Scandinavia. The Soviet government planned to cover and contain the reactor and report that the containment was unsuccessful, but they stuck to it. In nearby Kieu, people filled the streets for the Mayday parade, but did not know that the city was illuminated 50 times more than normal. Ten days after the first explosion, the reactor was still burning.

The image becomes even more disturbing. Two days after the explosion, a flash of light showing images of a large amount of nuclear radiation of people on the streets of Chernobyl. Factory workers suffering from hospital beds, their peeled skin oozes with great pain. A helicopter flying over the plant to drop sand and boron into a burning reactor accidentally tagged the crane and crashed. Miners are unaware of the dangerous levels of radiation they absorb and work endlessly, digging under the plant and wrapping the reactor in concrete.

After 5 months, the radiation has not yet been contained and is still being cleaned up. After the robot broke down, Russian troops ordered a man known as a "liquidator" to wear unplanned and ineffective protective equipment, scale the building, and push powerful radioactive debris into the pits. .. They didn't know or believed that radiation would hurt them. Eighty percent of them will die shortly thereafter. In the next few months and years, piglets, calves, and human children will be born with cancer and serious grotesque mutations, and we see those images-they too. Many. However, the government continued to wipe out the truth under the rug. The prevailing illness among the citizens is psychological, and authorities have claimed to be "radiophobia." Within five years of the Chernobyl accident, the Soviet Union disappeared.

Which movie reminds you? : The Lost Tapesis the most notable eye since the one that deserves performanceApollo 11

The archive video that cannot be seen is released. Watch:Firefighter's wife, Ludmilaina Tenko, provides a deeply influential emotional element to the film with first-person narration. If her name sounds familiar, it's because Jessie Buckley played inChernobyl. This is a pregnant woman who visited her husband in her radiation ward and has since suffered many tragedy.

Memorable Dialogue:Opening Narration from the Voice of Russia: "In the Soviet Union, the relationship with the truth was complicated .... The explosion in Chernobyl is very destructive. Probably. The pride of the Soviet administration will destroy the rest. "

Gender and skin:None.

Our view: Chernobyl: The lost tapeis harsh and calm and is essential for that very reason. Jones unearthed an extraordinary footage taken from a dangerous location where the people behind the camera were suffering as much as the people in front of the camera. And many of these images capture the intolerable, horrifying, unvarnished truth. Some footage is fascinating and captures life in the Soviet Union in the 1980s. The family makes a fuss on the sunny beaches, filling the bustling Chernobyl streets and countering Western thoughts about the miserable Russians lined up in rows of bread. But in most cases, the documentation is a tough tragedy and can be too long beyond the 96 minutes Jones assembles here.

A well-constructed event timeline and grainy visual details are accompanied by important narrative elements. At one miserable moment, Inatenko shares how she and the spouse of another firefighter met the president. The construction of the plant did not include containment units in case of explosions, Soviet arrogance, or overconfidence. Jointly with Gorbachev. Sticking to the story, the country launched a false information campaign so that it could save its face on the international political arena at the expense of suffering citizens. Jones directly presumes the inevitable collapse of the Soviet government and shoots an arrow directly at the center of a big lie. The similarity to what happened in other countries is certainly not a coincidence.

Our call:STREAMIT. It's a difficult watch, butChernobyl: The Lost Tapeis one of the best documentaries of the year.

John Serba is a freelance writer and film critic based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. For more information on his work,

Stream Chernobyl: The Lost Tapes on HBO Max