Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Inseparable: the Titanic of Chernobyl stories

Hello, commies!
If you enjoy the recent HBO miniseries Chernobyl but were overwhelmed by the amount of science jargon, there is a lesser known Russian language 4 episode miniseries from 2013 called Inseparable (original title is "Fireflies"). This particular project offers a more balanced mix of science, politics and human drama. There is an actual central love story that will make you think of the one in Titanic. A privileged girl and an underprivileged boy fall in love against the backdrop of a major disaster. Hm.... Sounds familiar? Allie is a straight A student who comes from a family of doctors and army officers. Paul, a young soldier, is an orphan who was raised in an orphanage. I must point out, for a ward of the state, Paul is impressively articulate, temperate and well-mannered, while Allie comes across as impulsive and entitled at times. Under normal circumstances these two probably would not have even met. The world's greatest nuclear disaster erases their socioeconomic differences. They find themselves alone in the abandoned city of Pripyat, caught in a dream world that is incredibly surreal, creepy, lyrical and humorous at the same time. Tragedy and dirty humor go hand in hand.  

It's not really fair to compare the two projects, but there are definite benefits to watching a Chernobyl show made by ethnic Slavs. As much as I appreciated the research behind the HBO series, you just can't find those broad Slavic faces in English and Scottish pubs. If you happen to be a native Russian speaker, you will catch yourself smiling at the linguistic nuances and the references. 

What I loved about Inseparable was that the writers do not pull any punches. No sugar coating, no silver lining, no last minute rescues, no miraculous cures. The fatalistic misanthrope in me is very pleased.  

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