Previously at the ICA - Films
15 Oct 2016
BFI Film Festival: 245 features. 74 countries. 15 cinemas. 12 days. One Festival.
Ukrainian director Vitaly Mansky is one of Russia’s leading documentary filmmakers. Here he revisits the country of his birth, interviewing members of his family in Lviv, Odessa, Sevastopol in Crimea and the separatist Donbas region. Set within the specific political timeline of 2014-2016, he encounters different perspectives, realities and attitudes towards life in Ukraine. It’s a profound analysis of national identity, filtered through personal experience. On discovering that one of his grandmothers was Polish-Lithuanian, he wonders when Lithuanian Poles actually became Ukrainians. Traditions betray a region’s history, such as the dual celebration of New Year’s Eve—one Russian, the other Ukrainian—in Sevastopol. Mansky’s birthplace, Lviv, was once the Polish city of Lwow and before that, as Lemberg, it was part of the Habsburg Empire.
An important counterbalance to the simplifications of both Eastern and Western media and news reporting, Mansky’s film is a fascinating account of the malleable nature of borders and cultures.
(Notes by Peter Hames)
Rodnye (Close Relations), dir. Vitaly Mansky, Latvia/Germany/Estonia/Ukraine 2016, 112 mins.