BERLIN Antwerp


A filmic portrait about two people, living in a ghost town. A story about solitude and survival, the results of a failed atomic experiment. 1986. 

About 90 towns and villages around Pripyat are evacuated. The failure of an atomic experiment causes a drastic change in the lives of the inhabitants. They leave their houses never to return again. Pétro and Nadia, a married couple at that time 60 years old, born and raised in Zvizdal, refuse being evacuated. They prefer to stay put in their old village, in their own house. A ghost town. All acquaintances have left, their plundered houses bear witness of a former liveliness. Petrified places, overgrown by nature given free reign. Between 2011 and 2016 Berlin follows Pétro and Nadia to be able to portray the evolution of their history over the years. How can one bear an isolation for years? There is the lack of electricity, of running water and heating. There are the superstitions, there is the vodka, the muttering, the cursing and praying and singing, the toothaches, the ailments that come with the age, the 20 km walk to the nearest store, the waiting for someone from the inhabited world. Zvizdal will be a portrait of solitude, survival, poverty, hope and of love, between two elderly people over 80 years old with all around and in between them the colourless, scentless but omnipresent radiation.

The starting point for each performance by BERLIN is a city or a region somewhere on the planet. Characteristic of the group is its documentary and interdisciplinary working method. Focusing on a specific research question, it engages different media depending on the content of the project. Bart Baele and Yves Degryse founded BERLIN in 2003 together with Caroline Rochlitz. The group started the series Holocene (the current geological era) with the performances Jerusalem, Iqaluit, Bonanza, and Moscow. A few years later, BERLIN initiated a new cycle called Horror Vacui (the fear of emptiness), of which Tagfish, Land’s End, and Perhaps All The Dragons comprise the first three episodes. 

NXTSTP partners: Kunstenfestivaldesarts (Brussels), Dublin Theatre Festival (Dublin), Noorderzon Performing Arts Festival (Groningen)