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HISTORY

The credits on the print viewed for this record were listed in Russian and may not reflect what appeared onscreen during the film’s initial release. An English translation was taken from production materials in AMPAS library files.
       A 19 May 1992 Village Voice article states that the title Raspad is Ukrainian for “collapse.”
       According to production notes, director Mikhail Alexandovitch Belikov was living in Kiev, Ukraine, when the Chernobyl nuclear power plant suffered a meltdown on 26 Apr 1986. As radiation spread through the region, the Soviet Union claimed nothing had happened. Their evasiveness so angered Belikov that he began writing a screenplay that eventually became Raspad.
       Principal photography began on 26 Apr 1989, the third anniversary of the tragedy. With the Soviets' relaxing of governmental oversight due to the period of political transparency known as glasnost, Belikov was able to make a highly critical film of the incident.
       Although the budget was one million rubles (roughly $600,000), a film stock shortage required the filmmakers to reuse film from unwanted takes. A 20 Jun 1990 Var review reported that filming began at the Dovzhenko Film Studios in Kiev. Belikov and his twelve-man crew filmed in Kiev, Pripyat, and inside the collapsed reactor at Chernobyl. Even though three years had passed since the meltdown, radiation was still so high that the director suffered from radiation sickness and temporarily lost his hair.
       While filming, Belikov met Peter O. Almond, a producer and screenwriter from San Francisco, CA, who was so taken by Belikov’s project that he acquired Dolby Stereo sound and Kodak film for the ... More Less

The credits on the print viewed for this record were listed in Russian and may not reflect what appeared onscreen during the film’s initial release. An English translation was taken from production materials in AMPAS library files.
       A 19 May 1992 Village Voice article states that the title Raspad is Ukrainian for “collapse.”
       According to production notes, director Mikhail Alexandovitch Belikov was living in Kiev, Ukraine, when the Chernobyl nuclear power plant suffered a meltdown on 26 Apr 1986. As radiation spread through the region, the Soviet Union claimed nothing had happened. Their evasiveness so angered Belikov that he began writing a screenplay that eventually became Raspad.
       Principal photography began on 26 Apr 1989, the third anniversary of the tragedy. With the Soviets' relaxing of governmental oversight due to the period of political transparency known as glasnost, Belikov was able to make a highly critical film of the incident.
       Although the budget was one million rubles (roughly $600,000), a film stock shortage required the filmmakers to reuse film from unwanted takes. A 20 Jun 1990 Var review reported that filming began at the Dovzhenko Film Studios in Kiev. Belikov and his twelve-man crew filmed in Kiev, Pripyat, and inside the collapsed reactor at Chernobyl. Even though three years had passed since the meltdown, radiation was still so high that the director suffered from radiation sickness and temporarily lost his hair.
       While filming, Belikov met Peter O. Almond, a producer and screenwriter from San Francisco, CA, who was so taken by Belikov’s project that he acquired Dolby Stereo sound and Kodak film for the prints of the final movie. He also arranged with Susan O'Connell of the Pacific Film Fund, a San Francisco organization that raises private venture capital for independent films, to fly Belikov and his crew to the U.S., where they edited the movie’s sound at the Skywalker Ranch, owned by Lucasarts. The remaining laboratory work was done in San Francisco.
       The filmed premiered at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival, and the 20 Apr 1992 Var announced its first U.S. screening was scheduled to take place one week later as a benefit for Unicef. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Hollywood Reporter
17 Aug 1990
p. 18.
Los Angeles Times
7 May 1992
p. 5.
New York Times
29 Apr 1992
p. 15.
Variety
20 Jun 1990
pp. 28-29.
Village Voice
19 May 1992
p. 64.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANIES
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Raspad is a presentation of Dovzhekno Studios/Lavra Studios
in association with Peter O. Almond and the Pacific Film Fund
An MK2 Productions USA Release
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst/Assoc dir
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Asst cine
Asst cine
Asst cine
Asst cine
Asst cine
Film footage/Cinematographic des
Film footage/Cinematographic des
Still photog
Lighting
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Picture ed
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Adagio
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
of the Film Studio of Dovzhenko
MAKEUP
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod coord
Prod coord
Prod coord
Prod coord
Helicopter scenes
Helicopter scenes
Helicopter scenes
Consultant
Consultant
Consultant
Admin group
Admin group
Admin group
Admin group
STAND INS
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
DETAILS
Release Date:
29 April 1992
Premiere Information:
U.S. benefit premiere: 27 August 1992
New York opening: 29 April 1992
Los Angeles opening: 8 May 1992
Production Date:
began 26 April 1989
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Duration(in mins):
103
Countries:
Soviet Union, United States
Language:
Russian
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

On April 26, 1986, journalist Alexander Zhuravlev returns to Kiev, Ukraine, from an assignment in Greece and realizes he has forgotten to bring back a bag of soil for his father. He digs up some earth from the front yard and tells his father it is Greek. That night, he finds an anonymous letter alleging his wife, Lyudmilla, is having an affair with Shurik, a high-ranking bureaucrat. Denying the claim, Lydudmilla reports that Alexander’s father found her with Shurik, who was in his underwear after spilling sardine juice on his pants. Accepting the explanation, Alexander telephones his friend Anatolii Stepanovich, a doctor who works on an ambulance in Pripyat, a city near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, and invites him to visit for a Good Friday celebration. Making a house call, Anatolii Stepanovich sees a convoy of firetrucks speeding toward the nuclear plant and follows. The plant is on fire from an explosion, and his friend, Ignatii, is dying from radiation sickness. Ignatii asks the physician to find his wife, Maria, and young son Kolka, and their baby and get them to safety. Meanwhile, the plant’s commissar is told about the radiation leak, but insists the Geiger counters are malfunctioning. He orders firemen to douse the reactor with water, causing a cloud of steam to spread radiation for hundreds of miles. The next morning, Anatolii visits a classroom and tells the teacher to evacuate the school. The children cheer their “good fortune” and rush home. Anatolii attempts to spread the word, but is stopped by police, who accuse him of spreading false rumors. The next day, ... +


On April 26, 1986, journalist Alexander Zhuravlev returns to Kiev, Ukraine, from an assignment in Greece and realizes he has forgotten to bring back a bag of soil for his father. He digs up some earth from the front yard and tells his father it is Greek. That night, he finds an anonymous letter alleging his wife, Lyudmilla, is having an affair with Shurik, a high-ranking bureaucrat. Denying the claim, Lydudmilla reports that Alexander’s father found her with Shurik, who was in his underwear after spilling sardine juice on his pants. Accepting the explanation, Alexander telephones his friend Anatolii Stepanovich, a doctor who works on an ambulance in Pripyat, a city near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, and invites him to visit for a Good Friday celebration. Making a house call, Anatolii Stepanovich sees a convoy of firetrucks speeding toward the nuclear plant and follows. The plant is on fire from an explosion, and his friend, Ignatii, is dying from radiation sickness. Ignatii asks the physician to find his wife, Maria, and young son Kolka, and their baby and get them to safety. Meanwhile, the plant’s commissar is told about the radiation leak, but insists the Geiger counters are malfunctioning. He orders firemen to douse the reactor with water, causing a cloud of steam to spread radiation for hundreds of miles. The next morning, Anatolii visits a classroom and tells the teacher to evacuate the school. The children cheer their “good fortune” and rush home. Anatolii attempts to spread the word, but is stopped by police, who accuse him of spreading false rumors. The next day, tanks roll into the city and the people are forced to evacuate in buses. However, there is no official announcement of the accident, and terror spreads among the civilians. Kolka watches his building evacuate, but does not want to leave while his mother, Maria, is out with the baby. A female civil servant orders him onto the bus, claiming they will find Maria later. The bus drivers are told that the oncoming bridge is highly radioactive, and they must speed across. As Kolka’s bus crosses the bridge, he sees his mother and baby daughter. Anatolii, who is too sick to evacuate, goes to the morgue and collects Ignatii’s remains. He drives the corpse to an empty field and buries it. Back in Kiev, Alexander learns about the reactor. He claims not to believe it, but begs his editor to send him to Chernobyl. His editor refuses, stating there has been no word of a reactor explosion, and assigns him to cover an international bicycle race. As darkness falls, Anatolii finds a very sick Maria being put on a plane with other refugees. He asks about her baby, but Maria does not know where she is. Anatolii sees the commissar and other high-ranking government officials putting their families on a private jet. The next day, Alexander attends a press conference about the disaster. Experts report that Kiev is safe, but everyone must keep their windows closed. When Alexander returns home, Lyudmilla demands her husband get her and their son, Dimka, out of the city. He explains they cannot get tickets. At a collection station, Koyla sets off a Geiger counter. A soldier opens the boy’s coat to find a kitten that is radioactive, and orders the boy to take it to a decontamination shower. Just then, an announcement proclaims that the collection point is too close to the reactor, and civilians are loaded back onto the buses. Kolka wanders into a field hospital and observes women spontaneously aborting their unborn children. Panic quickly spreads through Kiev as riots break out at train and bus stations. Alexander attempts to buy black market tickets, but does not have enough money. On Easter Sunday, Alexander gives a feast and is surprised when Shurik arrives. He confides to Lyudmilla that the communist officials are abandoning the city, and a second explosion at the reactor is imminent. Unable to leave, everyone gets drunk and Alexander puts on a pair of elk antlers to symbolize the horns of a cuckold. Lyudmilla asks him to stop being silly, and informs him that Shurik is taking her and their son out of the city. Alexander is overjoyed and ask Shurik if he can attain a pass so the journalist can view the reactor. Shurik agrees. The next day, Alexander rides a military helicopter to take pictures of the empty city of Pripyat. Spotting Kolka from the sky, he sees that the sick boy has chalked on the road: “Mother I am here. Come back.” Hearing the helicopter, the boy runs home and dies. Alexander goes to Anatolii’s apartment and hallucinates that the physician is sitting on a couch, covered with plastic sheeting. Later, he dons lead-lined clothing and runs through the reactor snapping pictures while soldiers plant a red flag. Months later, Alexander is promoted to editor of his newspaper. As he drives home, he runs into crowd of protesters who flip his car over. A bruised and shaken Alexander returns home to find Lyudmilla, who declares she cannot live without him. That night, Shurik joins family and friends to see slides of the reactor photographs Alexander took. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.