7 user 12 critic
Behind the walls of a forbidden city, the only thing more dangerous than its secrets is the truth.


Samira Goetschel
2 nominations. See more awards »




Credited cast:
Lavrenti Beria Lavrenti Beria ... Himself (archive footage)
Viktor Fetisov Viktor Fetisov ... Himself - (Director of Mayak Nuclear Plant) (archive footage)
Mikhail Gorbachev ... Himself (archive footage)
Sergei Kirillov Sergei Kirillov ... Himself - (Local Journalist)
Igor Kurchatov Igor Kurchatov ... Himself (archive footage)
Nadezhda Kutepova Nadezhda Kutepova ... Herself (human rights lawyer)
Gregory Kuznetsov Gregory Kuznetsov ... Himself - (Journalist)
Vladimir Kuznetsov Vladimir Kuznetsov ... Himself - (member of Russian Atomic Energy Corporation)
Alexander Litvinenko Alexander Litvinenko ... Himself (archive footage)
Natalia Manzurova Natalia Manzurova ... Herself (Nuclear scientist)
Vladimir Putin ... Himself (archive footage)
Joseph Stalin ... Himself (archive footage)
Galina Vasilievna Galina Vasilievna ... Herself - (Nadezhda's Assistant)
Boris Yeltsin ... Himself (archive footage)


Deep in Russia, there is an invisible city that houses thousands of men, women and children who live and work behind double barbed-wire fences monitored by armed guards. They are told that they are the creators of the nuclear shield and saviors of the world. They are told that everyone is an enemy. In this hidden world, a mother risks her life to take us inside Russia's largest nuclear city.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Behind the walls of a forbidden city, the only thing more dangerous than its secrets is the truth.


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Official Sites:

Official Facebook | official website | See more »


Russia | USA


English | Russian

Release Date:

1 September 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Сороковка See more »

Filming Locations:

Russia See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

D.I.G. Films See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



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Did You Know?


There are a series of intertitles throughout the film which read:
  • To keep their location hidden from the enemy, Mayak and City 40 were not placed on any map.
  • "Plutonium Lake" feeds into the Techa River, which is the region's main water source and one of the most contaminated places on Earth.
  • Half a million people living in the Ozersk region have been exposed to five times the amount of radiation as those affected by Chernobyl.
  • After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia's secret cities were suddenly recognized as places on the map.
  • Mayak stores an estimated 50 tons of weapons-grade plutonium and 38 tons of highly enriched uranium.
  • Since her last interview, Nadezhda Kutepova was interrogated by the Russian secret police under their "foreign agent" law.
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At around 43:40 into the documentary, the second lake identified as "Lake Irtyash" appears to actually be Lake Karachay (which as of 2017 has been completely filled in). The dump truck dumping shown was likely not dumping solid radioactive waste as implied, but was part of the effort to fill in and cover the lake to prevent radiation from escaping. See more »


Herself (human rights lawyer): My name is Nadezhda Kutepova and I'm a native of Ozersk. I was born here. We were told we live in a secret place. There were spies all over, sneaking around, gathering information. My mother used to warn me, 'Darling, never say where you are from or a Black Mariah will takes away and you'll never see your parents again. Let state secrets stay secret.'
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Darker Than Midnight
music by Michael A. Levine, lyrics by Michael A. Levine & Marina Verenikina
performed by Marina Verenikina
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User Reviews

What Happens When Apathy Rules
27 June 2017 | by gsandra614See all my reviews

This is a terrific and terrifying movie about what happens when citizen apathy takes over a city or a country. When people aren't informed because the "state" is the only voice heard. When there is no free press and active judiciary, authoritarians take over. Lies are told and fear is spread. People don't vote, don't volunteer, and don't run for office. Big money takes over when corporations are judged to have free speech rights like people. When people give up, they give in. Democracy requires strict controls on too much power in the hands of one part of government over another. Better a free press than silence; better a strong, balanced judiciary than tyranny.

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