New East Digital Archive

Resisting cliché: the new generation of Ukrainian directors

10 August 2017

While eastern European cinema has been making great leaps forward on the worldwide arthouse stage, according to some critics, the same vodka-drinking, state-corrupting and babushka-dying stereotypes reappear all too often.

One director who is resisting this retreat to the status quo is 35-year-old Ukrainian director Roman Bondarchuk, whose latest film Dixie Land won Best Ukrainian Feature Film at this year’s Odessa Film Festival. Bondarchuk’s first breakthrough movie however was his 2015 work Ukrainian Sheriffs, a story of two volunteers appointed as sheriffs in an isolated Ukrainian village.

Critics have hailed Dixie Land as a thought provoking documentary whose subtle realism truthfully depicts what it’s like to grow up in eastern Europe. The film splits its focus between several characters centred around a musical troupe: a genius music teacher, a talented boy-trombonist from a working class family and a multi-instrument girl-prodigy.

The same day that Bondarchuk won his award, 28-year-old Ukrainian director Kateryna Gornostay received the FIPRESCI prize from the International Federation of Film Critics for her short movie Lilac, also at the Odessa Film Festival.

There’s much to look forward to as this new generation of directors is adding another thread — free from cliché and stereotype — to the rich tapestry of Ukrainian cinema.

Source: Kyiv Post