ZVIZDAL – 2016
[Chernobyl - so far so close]

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 locals. They leave their houses never to return.

Pétro and Nadia, a married couple of then 60-year-olds who were born and raised in Zvizdal, refuse to be evacuated.  They prefer to stay put in their old village, in their own house. A ghost town. All their acquaintances have left, their plundered houses bear witness to better days. Petrified places, overgrown by nature.

Between 2011 and 2016 Berlin follows Pétro and Nadia in an effort to
portray the evolution of their story over the years. How does one bear years of isolation? 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 of old age, the 20-km walk to the nearest shop, the wait for someone from civilization.

Zvizdal draws a portrait of solitude, survival, poverty, hope and love
between two elderly people in their eighties surrounded by colourless, odourless but omnipresent radiation.


press quotes
'A remarkable portrait, offering no simple answer' The Irish Times

★★★★ 'The Antwerp Berlin duo has built a masterly theatre installation for Zvizdal. The audience sits on either side of a film screen [...]. Today’s state-of-the-art visual culture comes face to face with the primeval forces of weed-infested nature and a raw survival instinct.' – De Standaard 

'By far one of the most impressive theatre experiences of my life. Each of the one hundred and eighty people who shared it with me have learned something about what our lives are essentially all about.' – Cultureel Persbureau

'Using projected film, live-edited music, and meticulously created miniature art installations, Antwerp-based [..] BERLIN takes you right into a remote corner of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. And it's a mesmerizing, deeply moving trip. [...]  The resulting "documentary installation" becomes much more than a passive film experience, falling closer to an artful and intimate meditation on the passage of time, on solitude and companionship, and on mortality itself.' – The Georgia Straight

scroll down for full articles


Video and audio


With Nadia & Pétro
Opanassovitch Lubenoc
Concept Bart Baele,
Yves Degryse,
Cathy Blisson
Interviews Yves Degryse,
Cathy Blisson
Photography & editing Bart Baele,
Geert De Vleesschauwer
Scenography Manu Siebens,
Ina Peeters,
Sound recordings Toon Meuris,
Bas de Caluwé,
Manu Siebens,
Karel Verstreken
Interpreter Olga Mitronina Soundtrack & mixing Peter Van Laerhoven
Construction set Manu Siebens,
Klaartje Vermeulen,
Dirk Stevens,
Kasper Siebens
Scale model Ina Peeters,
with the help of Puck Vonk,
Rosa Fens,
Thomas Dreezen
Mechanics Joris Festjens,
Dirk Lauwers
Technicians Jurgen Fonteijn,
Rex Tee,
Jakke Theyssens
Graphics Jelle Verryckt Communication & production Laura Fierens
Business management Kurt Lannoye Administrative support Jane Seynaeve
Het Zuidelijk Toneel [Tilburg, NL], PACT Zollverein [Essen, DE], Dublin Theatre Festival [IE], CENTQUATRE [Paris, FR], Brighton Festival [UK], BIT Teatergarasjen - House On Fire  [Bergen, NO], Kunstenfestivaldesarts [Brussels, BE], Künstlerhaus Mousonturm Frankfurt am Main [DE], Theaterfestival Boulevard [Den Bosch, NL], Onassis Cultural Centre [Athens, GR] - In collaboration with deSingel [Antwerp, BE] - With support of the Flemish Government - BERLIN is associated artist to le CENTQUATRE [Paris, FR]
Thanks to
Wim Bervoets, Brice Maire, Lux Lumen, Els De Bodt, Pascal Rueff, Morgan Touzé, Christophe Ruetsch, Isabelle Grynberg, Nadine Malfait, Natalie Schrauwen, Katleen Treier, Piet Menu, Anthe & Ama Oda Baele, Remi & Ilias Degryse