This year, Love & Anarchy is dedicating a whole series to Ukrainian contemporary film and the situation in Ukraine.
The Framing Ukraine series directs the gaze to perspectives that are usually left unexamined. There is war and suffering, but also social criticism, first love and hope. Victimisation is itself a misuse of power, so it is important to show other realities. The series is curated in collaboration with Nataliya Teramae, the Program Director of the Ukrainian Film Days in Helsinki.
The series features Butterfly Vision (dir. Maksym Nakonechnyi) and Klondike (dir. Maryna Er Gorbach), which depict the psychological effects of a protracted war. In Mariupolis 2 by Mantas Kvedaravičius (who died in the war last spring) the war is not about tragic newspaper photographs and soldiers, but about dirt and the ruins of a destroyed city. Love & Anarchy also screened Klondike at a charity screening in April.
Dmytro Sukholytkyy-Sobchuk’s Pamfir, which debuted in Cannes, is a thriller about family and trust. A petty criminal is forced by the accident of his child to embark one last time on a path of crime. The House Made of Splinters, which has toured international festivals, is also about families – dysfunctional ones. The documentary depicts a children’s custody centre in eastern Ukraine, where efforts have been made to create a magical safe haven for children. The film, which revolves around the children’s games and troubles, could be set anywhere, but it is actually set close to the former front line.
Despite years of war, new cinema has been and continues to be made in Ukraine. Life goes on, one way or another.
This continuum is made visible by Stop-Zemlia, which plunges into the world of Kiev high school students, where anyone who has ever lived through adolescence can probably find a surface of identification. In Kiev at the turn of the 2020s, the war still creates a distant backdrop. The present moment puts a melancholic layer over the film. The film has been compared to HBO’s Euphoria, albeit with gun-safety classes to prepare for military training.
Nataliya Teramae comments on the series in the midst of the Independence Day atmosphere:
“Today, on Ukraine’s Independence Day, I woke up to the air raid siren, the same as the rest of Ukraine. We are still proud of who we are, despite the stereotypes about corruption and blah blah blah. We are not worse than the rest of Europe. You can frame our beloved Ukraine by watching its wonderfully diverse films in the program. Those film directors have been working on new movies, receiving awards and volunteering for our army. As you see, one must be really talented to be a Ukrainian filmmaker.”
Love & Anarchy wants to show its respect to Ukrainian filmmakers on Ukraine’s Independence Day.