TV highlights from Wednesday June 22: Looking back on the Chernobyl disaster | Entertainment

When it comes to horror movies, there are few things as haunting as scenes of abandoned schoolyards, playgrounds, and children’s toys. “Chernobyl: The Lost Tapes” (8 p.m., HBO) is not a horror movie, but it contains such scenes – and it’s much scarier than any horror movie.

We’re told up front that most of the “Lost Tapes” footage has never been seen before. This is not a lost exposition, but a sober reflection on the famous nuclear reactor meltdown and its aftermath using Soviet-era archival film, mostly industrial film produced by the authorities of the USSR to praise the modernity of the nuclear village of Chernobyl.

Before the disaster, Chernobyl was considered a good place to live, a pleasant planned community. The tone and film change when we come to the grim events of April 1986. As has been well documented, it took authorities far away in Moscow several days to evacuate the population, despite numerous reports of fatal radiation poisoning. “Lost Tapes” makes it clear that Moscow’s inability to admit disaster was a key element in the collapse of the Soviet Union.

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