Last year, the Ukrainian viewer finally felt fully what a high-quality national art cinema is – more than 30 films were rolled out, and the success of the military drama of Akhtem Seytablayev “Cyborgs” closed the cinema season. Ukrainian cinema in 2017 had a good distribution history in our country, and individual works loudly announced themselves and, by the way, earned in the cinemas of many countries. However, the current 2018 promises even more tapes, and, I want to believe, the resonance from their success will be louder.
It is announced that this year for the premiere are preparing … more than 40 Ukrainian films. And what is very important – the declared releases are quite diverse in genre relation, that is – they should satisfy the tastes of different audience. Even the most finicky.
Someone will call this a conjuncture, others – so necessary today heroization of Ukrainian defenders. Whatever the logic of the filmmakers, but the fact that many of the pictures scheduled for the distribution this year are dedicated to the topic of the Russian-Ukrainian war – the right signal. The whole country is experiencing upheavals, daily news comes about the wounded and dead Ukrainian soldiers. Therefore, to show their exploits as a tool of cinema – even artistic – is an important and very necessary step. Actually, this is the first thematic block of films, which this year is preparing for the release – the war, the ATO, the situation with the illegal annexation of the Ukrainian Crimea by the aggressor.
The second conditionally-themed block is films about family values. Here one can unite fantasy, various adventure pictures, exciting animations and family comedies. Actually, all those tapes that we go to with children and friends, for which we eat a lot of popcorn and drink Coca-Cola. The so-called typical distribution movie, obviously, is to collect complete halls, but it is also obvious that the audience does not watch such tapes more than once. And often, coming out of the cinema, catching themselves thinking that the film is good, but what exactly was struck – found it difficult to answer.
The third thematic block includes films on historical themes. First of all, in the press, enough noise was raised around the work of Oleksii Shaparev “Kruty 1918. Defense”. The film is being shot by the centenary of the proclamation of the Ukrainian People’s Republic and by the hundredth anniversary of the battle of students under Kruty. Many talk about the films from modern history, in particular, “Cherkasy” by Tymur Yashchenko. This is a film about the defense of trawler of the same name, which blocked Russian troops in the bay of Donuzlav in March 2014 during the illegal annexation of the Crimea. And also “1 + 1” shoots the film “Black Crow”, the work on which was announced long ago. A scenario based on the famous novel by Vasyl Shklyar “Black Crow”, wrote Andrii Kokotyukha.
Too few cinemas
It is too early to say that Ukrainian cinema has reached the “peak” of its development. Rather, the cinema is in the stage of finding oneself – when for relatively small budgets the artists create quite competitive cinema. Experts agree with this opinion.
“Ukrainian cinema is rapidly developing both in the direction of the festival cinema, and for a wide audience”, commented Ukrainian film director Sergii Pudich. – Yes, in 2018, 18 releases have already appeared in the movie theater and at least as much as planned until 2019. Unfortunately, we cannot say that the viewer is waiting so much for Ukrainian films (like, for example, Marvel films), but in 2017-2018 the attendance of Ukrainian films has increased noticeably: several films were watched by more than 300 000 spectators (“Dzidzio Contrabass”, “Cyborgs”), and the animated film “The Stolen Princess” collected almost 500 000 spectators in cinemas. From the expected premiers of 2018 – early 2019, one can single out “Wild Field”, “The Woman in War” (which was selected in Cannes), “When the Trees Fall” (premiered at the Berlinale), “11 Children of Morshyn”, “Let’s Dance”, “Sex and nothing personal” and others.
In addition to the positive trends in the production of quality cinema and its number, it should be noted a very low increase in screens for film shows. No matter how cinematographers try, it is impossible to collect a box office more than the resources physically allow. In Ukraine, there are about 500 screens, incomparably few with developed European countries (8 times less per capita than in France or Germany).
Is there enough Ukrainian cinema in the world? Of course not. To begin with, Ukrainian films are not so much in principle, and the successes that Ukrainian films reach in the world are great only compared to previous years of Ukrainian cinema. If we compare Ukraine with “pre-revolutionary” Ukraine, then, undoubtedly, these are “two big differences”. Ukrainian cinema has declared itself on the world map. If we are talking about Ukrainian cinema as a phenomenon in the world art, for now, unfortunately, we have not reached the desired level (but we will certainly do it in the next 5-10 years). I want to wish the Ukrainian audience to pay attention to Ukrainian films and support our cinema, because the cinema exists only thanks to the audience and in their power to give an even greater impetus to its development.
What to watch: Overview
We have prepared a selection of 10 teasers of Ukrainian films, which this year will surely be remembered for you.
Director: Tymur Yashchenko
Genre: Military drama
Director: Sharunas Bartas
Genre: Military drama
“Kruty 1918. Defense”
Director: Oleksii Shaparev
Genre: Historical action
Director: Leonid Kanter
Genre: Historical Documentary
“The Tale of Money”
Director: Olesya Morgunets-Isayenko
Genre: Fairy tale
Director: Dmytro Tomashpolsky
Director: Maksym Ksyonda
Genre: Family fantasy
Director: Yaroslav Ladygin
“Wild Field” (Voroshylovgrad)
Director: Oleksandr Klymenko
“The Stolen Princess”
Director: Oleg Malamuzh
Text: Vadym Lubchak