DIRECTORBurns, Scott
TITLEPu-239
DISTRIBUTORHBO
ISBN9781419865381
DATE PUBLISHED2007
RUNNING TIME98 minutes


The threat of nuclear material falling into the wrong hands is the subject of this dark film, which aired on Home Box Office (HBO) in 2007 and is based on a short story by the same title written by Ken Kalfus in 1996. Set in post-Cold War Russia, the film focuses on the plight of Timofey, a worker at a decaying nuclear reprocessing plant, and Shiv, a petty criminal in Moscow. When Timofey is dismissed from his job after an accident which exposes him to a high level of radiation, the plant's authorities refuse to compensate him and attempt to cover up their incompetence. Desperate to provide for his wife and child, Timofey steals 100 grams of Pu-239 to sell in Moscow. There he meets Shiv, who is in trouble with the Moscow mafia. Neither Shiv nor his criminal contacts understand the significance or danger of Pu-239, and the story comes to a tragic conclusion for all involved. The film provides a warning regarding the potentially dire consequences for large populations when nuclear materials end up in the hands of desperate persons. Its alternate title is The Half Life of Timofey Berezin.


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