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In Canada, at the Hot Docs documentary film festival, three Ukrainian films will be screened

02 Apr, 2024
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In Canada, at the Hot Docs documentary film festival, three Ukrainian films will be screened

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At the Canadian Hot Docs documentary film festival, taking place from April 25 to May 5 this year, international premieres of three Ukrainian films will be presented: "Porcelain War," "Nice Ladies," and the Canadian premiere of "Intercepted." The list of films has been published on the festival's website.

About the films:

"Porcelain War" 

 

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Directed by Brendan Bellomo and Slava Leontyev, this film tells the story of Slava, Anya, and Andriy - Ukrainian porcelain craftsmen who continue to create during the war. Russia’s unconscionable war in Ukraine has forced the country’s artists to become soldiers. Slava and Anya split their time between making ceramic sculptures and training civilian fighters, while cameraman Andrey can no longer bring himself to paint as he shoots the devastation around him. While mired in the horrors of protecting life and land, these artists are compelled to locate beauty in the bloodshed. They make delicate creatures, porcelain owls, snails, painted with intricate patterns, which they place on the killing fields, and transform mechanical drones into vibrant dragonflies before launching them to drop bombs. The winner of the US Grand Jury Prize: Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival, Porcelain War delivers a visually stunning dispatch from the front lines of both a terrifying physical invasion and the soul’s battle to rise above destruction. Wrestling meaning from trauma, Slava explains: “Ukraine is like porcelain—easy to break but impossible to destroy.”

"Nice Ladies"

 

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Directed by Maria Ponomareva, this film showcases the women from Ukraine's oldest cheerleading team. When Russia began bombing the city of Kharkiv, Ukraine, in 2022, every resident had to decide whether to stay or evacuate. For the members of the Nice Ladies—the ages 50-and-up women’s cheerleading squad—those decisions also had consequences for the team: Sveta fled to the Netherlands with her family; captain Valia and coach Nadia stayed behind. Relying on their individual training routines and sporadic phone calls to cope with daily traumas, each of these women fights to stay sane. But as the ladies press onwards to survive at home and abroad, war’s inevitable and more insidious twin weapons—resentment and survivor’s guilt—unleash unexpected, personal wounds. Witness a remarkable battle for sisterhood emerge in this uniquely inspiring, ongoing war story.

"Intercepted"

 

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Directed by Oksana Karpovych, this film is based on intercepted conversations of Russian soldiers with their families. The barrage of images documenting the devastation across Ukraine since 2022 have sadly become too familiar. While residents live under the constant threat of violence, there are moments of stillness and peace that last until the next attack. Patiently observed scenes of interrupted domesticity and the senseless destruction that is a result of the invasion in reclaimed parts of the country form a visual framework over which an assembly of surreptitiously recorded phone conversations between Russian soldiers in the trenches and their loved ones are played. Subtle details in the images illustrate examples of resistance, while the anonymous voices of the troops display the callousness and inhumanity of those who have been dispatched to execute plans they did not conceive. Their casual recollections are savage confessions. Bringing together the destroyer and the destroyed with a shocking juxtaposition of what is seen and what is heard creates a constant tension that underlines the futility of a prolonged war and provides a vital opportunity for reflection and resolve.

 

The Odessa Journal

The Odessa Journal

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