Review: Chernobyl Hearts (2012)


Directed by: Emilie Verhamme | 21 minutes | short film, thriller | Actors: Martin Nissen, Agathe Briand, Muriel Ferrer, Delphine Girard

To be honest, we wouldn’t appreciate it if a total stranger suddenly started mowing our lawn. If that person also appeared at the breakfast table again, we would undoubtedly be short of Spanish. It is that gloomy atmosphere that director Emilie Verhamme lives on. Throughout the film, there is something threatening in the air. The situation can explode at any moment and that makes for a very alienating viewing experience.

Actually, the two residents of a house in France asked for it themselves when they caught two young people in their swimming pool. The two turn out to be the previous occupants of the house. Brother and sister, however, lost their parents. So now they return to the place where they grew up. Marie and her daughter Delphine invite the orphans to take a look. Normally reasoning people would certainly have questioned the intruders, after all, it is no longer their home. However, Jules and Adrien eagerly accept the invitation and do not seem to want to leave anytime soon.

Despite the fact that the young people enter someone’s property, they behave very politely and never give the impression that they want to impose themselves. But subtle changes are noticeable in their behavior that lead to a dire outcome.
Actually, not much happens in ‘Chernobyl Hearts’. But the contrast between the bizarre behavior of the orphans and the naivety of the residents creates an invisible but tangible implosion in the characters that eventually surfaces. Despite its repetitive nature, this print will certainly not leave you unmoved.

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