Remember Chernobyl? Well 20 years after the disaster some interesting things are stirring in the fields of radiation. The BBC reports that "the exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear power station is teeming with life. As humans were evacuated from the area 20 years ago, animals moved in. Existing populations multiplied and species not seen for decades, such as the lynx and eagle owl, began to return. There are even tantalising footprints of a bear, an animal that has not trodden this part of Ukraine for centuries." Dr. Moreau anyone?
Its an interesting new context for the place when juxtaposed with the work by Robert Polidori shot just a few years back. These are moving images of decay and ruin - the nuclear project turned nightmare, the atomic equivalent of Pompei.
So this exclusion zone as termed by the BBC also draws a startling parallel with Andrei Tarkovsky's film Stalker. A true masterpiece from 1979. In my view it may be the greatest acheivement by the director - at least as good as Andre Rublev.
(Mirror is great too) If you haven't seen Stalker, here's the brief:
In a future Russia, there is an acident (nuclear or extraterrestrial) and the result is a massive area outlawed and guarded by the government called the Zone. Its a mystical and mythical location that citizens try to reach for enlightenment or healing. Stalkers are a group of outlaws with mental gifts courtesy of their exposure to the Zone. They act as guides or 'coyotes' if you will, guiding people illegally into the Zone and eventually into the Room. Its a beautifully moving and humanist film as you follow a writer and a scientist on their journey into the exiled Zone.
Funny how nature has found its way without human interference, despite the spoilage. It raises some big questions on the nature of survival and what happens to the places after we discard them.