The title of the best film is awarded to Donbass by Serhii Loznytsia. He also won the statuettes for the best direction and the best scenario; in regards to the latter, the winner noted that it was his first award in such a category.
Here is the full list of winners:
The best film:
The best director’s work (Y. Illienko award):
– Serhii Loznytsia;
The best actor:
The best actress:
– Irma Vitovska (The Gateway);
The best supporting actor:
– Volodymyr Yamnenko (The Wild Fields);
The best supporting actress:
– Vitalina Bibliv (The Gateway);
The best cinematography:
– Serhii Mykhalchuk (The Wild Fields);
The best production designer:
– Vladlen Odudenko (The Wild Fields);
The best scenario:
The best music:
The best documentary:
The best short feature film:
– Mia Donna (Pavlo Ostrikov);
The best animation film:
– Mimicry (Freud M. Weiser);
The best costume design:
The best makeup:
– Kateryna Strukova (The Gateway);
The best sound:
– Serhii Stepansky (The Wild Fields, Dzidzio First Time);
The best editing:
The best song:
– My Dear Mommy, the participants of the Ukrainian women’s choir: Iryna Danyleiko, Halyna Honcharenko, Susanna Karpenko (Woman at War);
The prize of spectator sympathies:
– Dzidzio First Time (Mykhailo Khoma and Taras Dron).
The prize for the contribution to the development of the Ukrainian film industry was awarded to the cameraman Yurii Harmash.
Most of these awards look quite predictable. Let’s start from the end: spectators’ sympathies. This category contained quite a dozen pictures, but Khoma is not just a popular pop musician, he is a cult character by himself. Both of his films are light, unpretentious comedies that made a profit which is a rarity for the Ukrainian film industry. Therefore, if Mykhailo’s fans are always ready to vote for him with their money, the more they are able to take him to the first position in the online voting.
The best song award is actually a statuette for the black comedy, Islandic-French-Ukrainian co-production Woman at War, which was nominated in the category The best film. Music is an important element of Benedict Erlingsson‘s film: two completely different groups – a hooligan Icelandic ensemble and a lyrical Ukrainian vocal trio – illustrate various states and events in the life of the main character – a radical eco-activist. This spectacular and effective decision did not pass by the attention of Cannes, where the film was awarded for its music, so the Ukrainian Dzyga is absolutely logical.
We should also appreciate the decision on the best make up; in fact, it is largely due to Kateryna Strukova that Irma Vitovska received the award for the best actress. Strukova, who spent 3-4 hours every day turning the 43-year-old Irma into the 88-year-old woman Prisia so organically that to messing that face up was impossible even by average acting. In general, with a rather weak direction, uncertain scenario and terrible special effects, it is women’s roles and the music by Baibakov – the most experienced film composer in the country – that kept The Gateway afloat.
Again, the award for the best costume design is slightly more than a technical prize. I think the attentive reader noted that there are almost no historical dramas among the prize-winners – on which a part of the patriotic public and officials still lay hope as on a locomotive of the revival of the Ukrainian film industry. However, somehow the products of this kind don’t succeed, they turn out boring and poorly made – and all of a sudden like a Jack in the box Oleksandr Berezan shows his historical comedy Noble Trumps – really funny and entertaining at times. And the work of the costume staff in it is wonderful – it is a real carnival.
The leadership of The Wild Fields was less obvious. This film failed on many counts. There are doubts about screenwriting and processing of the novel by Serhii Zhadan Voroshylovhrad, that formed the basis of the picture, and, especially, about directing, which failed to convey the rhythm of action, about the credibility of situations, acting. The latter concerns Oleh Moskalenko in the role of Herman; first, he looks beneficial due to his attractive facial features, but then, when it is necessary to develop his character, to change him, he becomes uninteresting. Volodymyr Yamnenko in this sense is much more interesting because he is at least more colorful. As for the over-authoritarian Mykhalchuk – in fact, our living legend of the cinematographic art – it seems that he could not get away without getting a statuette, but it is worth noting that in The Wild Fields Serhii and his talent exist separately, he creates another film, which has a fairly random attitude to the movie directed by Yaroslav Lodyhin.
And, of course, the golden triplet for Loznytsia is logical and deserved. Today Mr. Serhii is probably the most significant director in our film industry. Donbass is quite an unusual work for him. First, there is a markedly ironic mood in it. Previous feature stories of this director turned into a kind of journey into the heart of darkness – so it’s really a new intonation. Secondly – there is a fragmented structure: 13 scenes without any protagonist, mainly from the life of “Novorossiya”. This may be confusing. But Donbass is only partially about “Novorossiya” and about war. First of all, it is about what is now called post-truth.
Loznytsia slowly and in all details unfolds a picture of manipulations before us by means of which “the Russian world” plants the hegemony, straight from the first episode where actors make their faces up to be like “simple people” to act as “casual” witnesses of the shelling. Further, the level of lies just grows and it contrasts even more with the suffering of ordinary people: citizens, who are hiding from shelling in the basement; businessman, who is brazenly robbed by the new “power”; the Ukrainian prisoner, who is lynched in the street. And the protagonist and the antagonist at the same time here is the camera. Any sacrifices, including human ones, are made for the sake of a convincing propaganda frame.
Loznytsia does not spare the satirical colors – quite like Gogol – for picturing the wild “Novorossiyan” customs. And as a result, he gets a funny, scary and accurate tragicomedy about the reality in which the truth was canceled as unnecessary.
In general, the given shows very clearly that our cinema as a process has long left the stage of resuscitation and coma. It is evident even by the heterogeneity of categories – in some categories very disparate by the artistic level of performance works competed with each other, such as “Donbass” and “Just Sex, Nothing Personal”. On the other hand, it is this spread of genres, stories, and levels of performance that testifies the full value of the national cinema. Which remains largely comical, because in most categories there were comedies, and even in serious films-leaders like The Gateway, The Wild Fields and Donbass the comical elements are more than just present.
Therefore, it seems that with the laugh we do not only part with the past – but we enter into the future with the same sarcastic laughter.
Dmytro Desyateryk, The Day – for opinionua.com