Miroslav Slaboshpitsky – Plemya AKA The Tribe (2014)

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There have been countless films over the years about teenage gangs, their rites, rituals and violent codes of ethics, but Ukrainian-made and set The Tribe must surely be the first one featuring a cast entirely composed of deaf sign-language users. The story of writer-director Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy’s feature debut follows a familiar parabolic path, as it tracks an outsider who becomes major player. However, the use of sign language, deafness and silence itself adds several heady new ingredients to the base material, alchemically creating something rich, strange and very original. Add in Valentyn Vasyanovych’s silky smooth steadicam cinematography, sexually explicit imagery, strong critical support, and winning the top prize and two more besides in Cannes’ Critics’ Week sidebar (including one to assist distribution in France), and you’ve got a reasonably exportable item for the specialist market that doesn’t even need subtitles. Continue reading

Sergei Loznitsa – Maidan (2014)

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Synopsis:
MAIDAN chronicles the civil uprising against the regime of president Yanukovych that took place in Kiev (Ukraine) in the winter of 2013/14.
The film follows the progress of the revolution: from peaceful rallies, half a million strong, in the Maidan square, to the bloody street battles between protestors and riot police. MAIDAN is a portrait of an awakening nation, rediscovering its identity. Continue reading

Various – Vlyublenniye v Kiev AKA Lovers in Kiev (2011)

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Three words. Just three words, and perhaps most important in the world have become the dumbest, even to say them disgusting. “I love you” – shit… They have been meaning nothing, but serve only a cover for, you know, all kind of dirty tricks. Well, how many chicks were fucked and left in the morning? How many apartments and estates were swindled under the guises of these three words. “I love you, honey. All night just thinking about you, darling. Yak, fuck! Actually, ‘I love you’ is the most common phrase people are lying with. And all of the songs about all of this, 95% exactly. As if there are no other themes to find, I don’t know… Always the same. I love you, I love you, I love youuu.

Lovers in Kiev – anthology of short films by analogy with the project “Paris, I Love You”, “New York, I love you. ” Almanac will consist of 8 meters short of young Ukrainian filmmakers. The authors intend to show Ukrainian capital through the eyes of romantic youngsters. Continue reading

Serge Avedikian & Olena Fetisova – Paradjanov (2013)

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Sergei Paradjanov can, without exaggeration, be called one of the most distinctive filmmakers of the 20th century. Indeed, Federico Fellini, Michelangelo Antonioni and Andrei Tarkovsky were among the many admirers of his fascinating powers of visualization. This biopic, evincing an original take on the genre, relates some of the key moments in the life and work of this director of genius, a native Armenian who was persecuted by the Soviet authorities. We watch Paradjanov as he makes his ground-breaking films Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors and The Colour of Pomegranates, and also during his imprisonment by the communist regime. The filmmakers present Paradjanov as a gifted artist overflowing with ideas, but also as a complicated personality. In creating the film’s artistic vision, the directing duo relies heavily on Paradjanov’s own, unmistakable trademark style, vividly showing the audience his distinctive way of seeing the world. Continue reading

Sergei Loznitsa – V tumane AKA In the Fog (2012)

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Western frontiers of the USSR, 1942. The region is under German occupation, and local partisans are fighting a brutal resistance campaign. A train is derailed not far from the village, where Sushenya, a rail worker, lives with his family. Innocent Sushenya is arrested with a group of saboteurs, but the German officer makes a decision not to hang him with the others and sets him free. Rumours of Sushenya’s treason spread quickly, and partisans Burov and Voitik arrive from the forest to get revenge. As the partisans lead their victim through the forest, they are ambushed, and Sushenya finds himself one-to-one with his wounded enemy. Deep in an ancient forest, where there are neither friends nor enemies, and where the line between treason and heroism disappears, Sushenya is forced to make a moral choice under immoral circumstances. —In The Fog official website Continue reading

Oles Sanin – Mamay (2003)

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Mamay draws on traditional Ukranian and Tatar folktales for its Romeo and Juliet-like love story and parable about chivalry and the struggle for freedom. Hundreds of years ago, in the wild steppes of Crimea that form an uneasy border between East and West, Europe and Asia, nomad and farmer, the proud Cossack Mamay falls in love with the Tatar beauty Omai. The title, like the storyline, holds a variety of different meanings taken from different cultures. In Turkic languages, it means “no one,” but it was also the name of a famous Mongol conqueror, the great grandson of Ghengis-Khan. In Persian legends, mamay literally means “the spirit of the steppes”. Continue reading