Here are some of the best Ukrainian movies ever made

The world is watching Ukraine right now, but moviegoers have been watching Ukrainian cinema for decades. The country has had a complicated and difficult history for a long time, having been brought into the Soviet Union and subjugated and starved throughout the 1930s with the infamous Holodomor man-made famines. Since then, prejudice and prejudice against Ukrainians grew among many far-right Russian nationalists, who treated the great Ukrainian people with disdain even when they were part of the same Soviet Union.

Ukraine has seen epic complications over the past decade, from its revolutionary acts of 2013-2014 to the domestic turmoil it faces between pro-Russian separatists and (mostly) young Ukrainians who aspire to a more European way of life. Ukraine’s gravitation (and US influence) towards NATO and the EU has caused distress for Russia (which generally still regards Ukraine as its own territory, like Crimea), and on the night of February 23, 2022, it seems that Russian convoys and attacks began to enter Ukraine from all directions. A terrible war may be beginning, and with America’s tough wartime decisions, many people are tense.

Art can however be healing therapy, especially international multicultural art. We can try to understand ourselves through art, and international cinema often launches this impassioned plea: “Please don’t think of me as ‘the other’; I’m like you, and here’s why.” Looking back at some of the greatest Ukrainian films ever made, perhaps we can cultivate some empathy and support.

9 such beautiful people

such beautiful people
Dovzhenko Film Studio

The beautiful and calm film by Dmytro Moyseyev, such beautiful people, is a simple look at the everyday life of rural Ukrainian citizens. Set largely against the beautiful backdrop of the Black Sea shores in Crimea, the film takes a gentle look at different neighbors and citizens of a small community and their daily lives trying to find meaning outside of the hustle and bustle. from the big city. It is a skilfully shot and slightly melancholy film that reveals the beauty of banality and the dignity of normal life, working class, Ukrainian or elsewhere.

Related: Mavka. The Forest Song releases jaw-dropping first full trailer

8 firecrosser

Insightmedia / Filippov Volodymyr

In Firecrosser, writer/director Mykhailo Illienko tells the dramatic true story of a Ukrainian legend, Ivan Datsenko, who led more than 200 battles against the Nazis during World War II before being decorated with the official title of “Heroes of the Soviet Union” on September 18, 1943. He was eventually captured as a prisoner of war by the Americans, and the Soviets pronounced him dead, but the real story is so much more bizarre. Datsenko snuck to Canada, fell in love of a Native American woman, and joined her tribe, eventually becoming the native chief firecrosser in Montreal, without anyone being aware of his complicated Ukrainian past. It’s a larger-than-life story, and the Ukrainian director tells it well.

7 Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom

winter on fire

The Netflix Original winter on fire, directed by Evgeny Afineevsky, is an Oscar-nominated taut documentary about the student uprising that took place in Ukraine in 2013. Using excellent interviews with activists, journalists, politicians, workers, artists and members of the clergy, as well as brilliant editing and music, the documentary delves into the complicated situation in Ukraine, where so many young people wanted more European integration and association with the European Union and NATO, while many many politicians (and Russians) certainly did not want this. the Ukrainian the revolution and the ensuing situation erupted in 2014, and given what Russia has been doing lately, it seems like it’s barely over.

6 Julia Blue

Julia Blue
BECU / Red Element Studios

Roxy Topowych directs the beautiful Julia Blue, about one of the aforementioned student activists. Having witnessed the chaos in Kyiv, Julia is inspired to leave home and become a photojournalist. She uses her passion while waiting for college news by volunteering at a military hospital for recently injured soldiers, bringing her enthusiasm and energy with her wherever she goes. Julia falls in love with a wounded young man (in more than one sense of the word), and a sweet love blossoms between them in this touching, sad, but ultimately inspiring Ukrainian film.

5 feathered dreams

feathered dreams
Highlighted photos

feathered dreams is a unique production. It’s the first Ukrainian film in English, and it’s also a co-production between Ukraine and Nigeria, a country that actually has the fastest growing film industry, called Nollywood. Andrew Rozhen’s film follows a young woman facing prejudice and discrimination in Ukraine as she studies medicine while dreaming of becoming a singer. Omoni Obole’s performance as Sade is absolutely stunning and holds this simple, beautifully scored film together.

4 Maidan generation

Maidan generation
Multimedia Messy Moments

Another excellent documentary which returns to the Ukrainian revolutionary fights of 2014, Maidan generation is much more uplifting and less dark than winter on fire, but just as brilliant. The film partially picks up where winter on fire abandoned, following the Ukrainian protesters as they battle corrupt oligarchs, businessmen and pro-Russian separatists. Director Andrew Tkach weaves a tapestry of moving interviews with everyone from doctors, musicians, vigilante volunteers, civic activists, victims of torture and even young Ukrainian women and men directly on the front lines. The producers have made the full film available below, but beware, the revolution can get violent and intense.

Related: These Great Documentaries Explain Complex Subjects In Understandable Ways

3 Hunger for Truth: The Story of Rhea Clyman

Rhea Clyman
Canada-Ukraine Foundation

An extremely painful documentary, Hunger for Truth: The Story of Rhea Clyman tells the harrowing story of journalist Rhea Clyman, one of the few people in the world (who was not killed) to investigate and report on the disinformation campaign of Stalinist bureaucrats and police surrounding intentional starvation and mass starvation that killed nearly four million people in the 1930s. At just 28 years old, Clyman traveled across eastern Ukraine, interviewing and writing firsthand about the man-made famine known today. today under the name of Holodomor. His information was suppressed and Clyman was arrested; she was fortunately a Canadian citizen and not Ukrainian, so she was not killed. It took nearly half a century for his reports to come to light, and hunger for truth is an import film that documents what she worked so hard for.

2 Guide

B&H Film Distribution

The Ukrainian drama of 2014 Guide by Oles Sanin is a tense, gritty and incredible historical film that depicts the repression of Ukrainian identity in the 1930s. The haunting and visually stunning film follows a boy whose American father is killed by NKVD agents for possession of state secrets; the boy is taken in by a blind man kobzaror Ukrainian nomadic musician, who walks in the street. Kobzars were often targeted by the USSR for being anti-party, nurturing an ethnocentric romanticism that ran counter to Stalinist ideology. The boy and the older man must navigate the harsh, cold and politically charged landscape of Ukraine hoping to survive in this tense and heartbreaking film.

1 Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors

Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors
Artkino Pictures

Also known as Fire wild horsesthe seminal ukrainian film of 1965 Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors is a cinematic masterpiece by director Sergei Parajanov that acts as a modern update of the Romeo and Juliet tale to the beautiful Carpathian mountains of Ukraine. Two young Ukrainians develop an unrequited love, as their families hate each other, in this beautifully shot, almost avant-garde classic, which was a huge hit in its home country, with seven million people buying tickets to the era. Even just making this movie was a bit of a political statement; it was one of the very few Ukrainian-language films to be produced at Dovzhenko Film Studios in Ukraine, because even in 1965 there was a major prejudice against Ukrainians, even though they were part of the same Soviet Union than the Russians. Even the theatrical release of Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors sparked violent protests and imprisonments. May this film not be forgotten.

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