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REFLECTION

Valentyn Vasyanovych | 2021 | 125 MINS
Ukraine
Ukrainian surgeon Serhiy is captured by the Russian military forces in the conflict zone in Eastern Ukraine and while in captivity, he is exposed to horrifying scenes of humiliation, violence and indifference towards human life.

In Detail

After his release, he returns to his comfortable middle-class apartment and tries to find a purpose in life by rebuilding his relationship with his daughter and ex-wife. He learns how to be a human being again, how to be a father and help his daughter, who needs his love and support.

At the start of the Donbas war in 2014, Valentyn Vasyanovych’s fifth feature chimes horribly with the current mood, grim and exacting as it is compared with previous, more ironic films about the conflict such as Sergei Loznitza’s ‘Donbass’ (screening Tuesday 23 Aug).

Shot in mostly long takes with minimum camera movement, this is an intense experience with scenes of violence which is not for the squeamish (Vasyanovych, cinematographer on Miroslav Slaboshpitskiy’s ‘The Tribe’ is also behind the camera here, as well as taking on editing, writing and producing duties). This enigmatic war drama is brutal in its depiction of conflict but also elusively redemptive. A shaken, horrifying outcry for Ukraine – and statement of hope which premiered at Venice 2021.

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