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Nuclear Split

1987 | 96 min | Recommended min. age: 16 y

1985: The “Nuclear Split” to which this film’s title refers is a feature of life in the Upper Palatinate, a region of West Germany bordering Czechoslovakia. In the rural communities surrounding the proposed nuclear reprocessing plant, these divisive processes are occurring in the local population. A child paints a picture: demonstrators on one side and police on the other. Molotov cocktails and tear gas shells, helicopters shooting over barbed wire fences. It might seem an unusual subject for a child’s painting, but since the location of the nuclear reprocessing plant was finally decided on February 4th 1985, many people in the Upper Palatinate have seen their lives change radically.

This film provides a profound insight into the process of ecological destruction, revealing the intentions behind the construction of a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in terms of atomic policies and highlights the dangers to which the population will be exposed as a result of radioactive emissions.

The film focuses on the inhabitants of this region, the threats to which they are exposed and the personal and collective processes of transformation they have undergone. Once loyal citizens have been reluctantly turned into radicals. Civil servants, housewives and mothers reveal strong feelings of political and social responsibility that extend far beyond any initial expression of indignation. Local figures are not afraid to speak out frankly, nor to demonstrate solidarity when those labelled “anarchists” are subjected to CS gas attacks along the perimeter fence of the building site. People vent their anger both within their own four walls and standing face to face with armed policemen in the midst of a conflict that has all the attributes of a civil war.

In their struggle against the nuclear threat, the people of the Upper Palatinate find themselves caught in a field of tension somewhere between powerlessness and anger, despair and defiance – but they’re not the only ones.

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