NUrope XIII, Kiev and Lviv (IV)

art, time-out

Last day in Kiev: in the morning Sergiy Trymbach, Head of the Filmmakers’ Union of Ukraine, received the Nomadic University at the National Cinema House. The building, in itself retaining a distinct scent of Sovietic atmosphere, made a very convenient backdrop for the screening of two ‘Ukrainian classics’ by film director Aleksandr Dovzhenko. His films Zemlya (Earth) and Zvenyhora were made in 1928 and 1930 – the years preceding the great famines, provoked by Stalin in order to break down resistance against collectivization in Ukraine. Zemlya deals with the issue of ‘Blut und Boden’, by telling the story of a young Bolshevik hero who gets killed by the desperate class enemy, only to be mourned and reborn among the victorious Soviet people. Despite its aim to promote the Party’s political purposes, the film evoked criticism because of its religious symbolism. Today, it may obviously still appeal to a conception of national identity related to the earth, and of Nature as a constant beyond social changes… Here three clips:
Zemlya (1)
Zemlya (2)
Zemlya (3)

After this thought-provoking reminder of lingering history, we had a very different experience bordering on the same theme. Writer Stanislaw Tsalik took us on a guided city walk along the boulevards, parks and palaces of the 19th and 20th centuries; sites and memorials built for rich merchants and – later – for the Soviet nomenklatura. We followed the path of Bulgakov’s alter ego Alexei Turbin in his long run in the novel “The White Guard”, to end up at the Kreschatyk where demonstrations pro and contra Yulia Tymoshenko on trial went on…

The evening continued with an impressive counterpart of  the morning programme. At Babuin, we met with contemporary Ukrainian filmmakers to attend a screening session of  short films, manifesting various approaches to our  recurring topic of history/histories and identity-making. Those films shall speak for themselves – just have a look, or more:

Cross (Maryna Vroda’s 2011 Palme d’Or award winner. This is but a short trailer – bad technical quality and superfluous commentaries but gives an idea of the atmosphere)
Tram No 9 Goes On  (clay animation by Stepan Koval, 2002)
Against the Sun (part 1) (by Valentin Vasyanovich, 2004 – don’t miss this one! )
Against the Sun (part 2)
Wayfarers (by Ihor Strembitsky, Palme d’Or for short film 2005)

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