Why do you want to survive?

A Film by Jenny Perlin
Produced by Jenny Perlin and A. S. Hamrah
HD, color, sound, 92 minutes, US, 2021

“Rigorous and refreshingly unvarnished…BUNKER patiently observes several American men as they take up residence in decommissioned missile silos and elaborate underground condos in anticipation of impending nuclear fallout. With a sense of melancholy permeating its spectacle, the documentary exposes the revival of Cold War anxieties and doomsday fetishism among ostensibly ordinary grandfathers and uncles. […] By interviewing subjects with a wartime journalist’s emotional distance and crafting still-life portraiture of their windowless lives, Perlin reveals the loneliness and dark humor of what some of her subjects consider the end times.” –Tomasin Fonseca, FILM COMMENT

Film notes:
Working with and against the documentary tradition, and incorporating innovative stylistic techniques to emphasize issues of truth, misunderstanding, and personal history, Jenny Perlin’s work looks closely at the ways in which social machinations are reflected in the smallest fragments of daily life. Her new feature film, BUNKER, investigates the lonely lives of American men who have decided to live in decommissioned military bunkers and nuclear missile silos.

More and more American men are deciding to live alone in decommissioned military bunkers and nuclear missile silos, even as an upscale industry begins to cater to “preppers,” people who fear the imminent breakdown of society and the destruction of the United States. In BUNKER, Perlin journeys by herself into the middle of America to meet such men, and the builders and salesmen who cater to them. The film follows a uniquely American path, moving from undisclosed location to undisclosed location, from the headquarters of a bunker construction firm to the homes of men who have cut themselves off from society, and ultimately to a newly constructed isolated retreat and an upscale nuclear missile silo where developers claim they can recreate New York City life hundreds of feet underground. Investigating toxic American myths, including self-reliance, masculinity, home safety and security, and family life in a time of climate crisis, economic upheaval, and political strife, BUNKER reveals the pathological inner workings of an American phenomenon on the rise.