Land of Oblivion looks back at Chernobyl disaster
by Fabien Lemercier
10/06/2010 - For the past two weeks, shooting has been in full swing in Ukraine on French/Israeli director Michale Boganim’s debut narrative feature: The Land of Oblivion. Acclaimed for her documentary Odessa… Odessa! (selected in the Berlinale Forum 2005 and nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance), the director is now turning her hand to a French/German/Polish co-production retracing the irreversible consequences of the accident at Chernobyl nuclear power station in 1986.
The Land of Oblivion’s cast includes Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace [trailer]), Vyacheslav Slanko, Serguei Strelnikov, French actor Nicolas Wanczycki, Poland’s Andrzej Chyra (Katyn [trailer, film focus]), Illya Iosifov, Vyacheslav Kurbasov, Natalya Tkachenko, Tatiana Rasskazova, Nikita Emshanov, Marina Bryantseva and Dmitry Surzhykov.
Scripted by Boganim, the film opens in April 1986, in Prypiat, a Soviet town close to Chernobyl’s nuclear power plant, a few days before the explosion. A child, Valery, and his father, a physicist at the power station, plant a tree.
Forest warden Joshia does his daily rounds. In the middle of a clearing, Anya and Piotr are getting married. The celebrations are suddenly interrupted and Piotr, a volunteer fire-fighter, has to go to attend to a fire.
Produced by Laëtitia Gonzalez for Les Films du Poisson (who are basking in the glory of the recent Cannes win by Mathieu Amalric’s On Tour [trailer, film focus]), The Land of Oblivion is co-produced by Arte France Cinéma, Germany’s Nikovantastic Films and Poland’s Apple Film Production. The film, which also has an advance on receipts from the National Film and Moving Image Centre (CNC), backing from the Polish Film Institute, the Eurimages fund (€500,000) and the Franco-German co-production mini-treaty (€350,000), has been pre-bought by Ciné Cinéma.
The first leg of shooting will wrap on July 3, with four more weeks scheduled for December. French theatrical distribution and international sales will be handled by Le Pacte.
(Translated from French)