“After the Apocalypse”  is a one-hour documentary that takes place in Semipalatinsk, a town in north-eastern Kazakhstan where the USSR detonated 456 nuclear weapons, many of them large-yield megaton hydrogen bombs. The camera goes to radioactive craters where herders still take their animals to graze. It goes to a museum where the pickled corpses of deformed babies sit in jars.
However, the horror show of the past is not the main attraction. The film concentrates on the fierce struggle that still goes on today over the reproductive rights of the Kazakhstan hibakusha. The director, Antony Butts, follows a pregnant woman, Bibigul, whose wide-set eyes suggest chromosome damage. She wants to give birth despite the protestations of Toleukhan Nurmagambetov, a doctor who talks of the deformed, and too often abandoned, babies in the region as “monsters.”
When the film begins, the viewer gets a sense that Dr. Nurmagambetov and his staff have made humane and heroic efforts to care for the severely deformed children abandoned to their care, and so we can somewhat sympathize with the stern and drastic positions they have adopted about the need for genetic passports—legal restrictions on who is allowed to reproduce.