The Ukrainian choice of Berlusconi

The idea to conduct a special thematic festival that would depict problems of human rights is not a Ukrainian invention – similar festivals are held almost in all European countries. Usually organized by public organizations for human rights, these festivals attract attention of the audience by straight-out and exact elucidating of reality, depicting hot subjects of the present. You will say there are many hot subjects like this in television news? Yes, you’re right, but in this case we’re speaking about CINEMA, about quite different format and tasks.

The organizers are trying to show the cinema that would make feedback exactly of the Ukrainian audience, that is why the selection of films for the opening of the festival was not casual.

The film of the young director Ruslan Honcharov famous by his earlier work “The Face of protest” – is an impartial chronicle of the election 2004 events, starting with Donetsk and finishing with Maidan. The author doesn’t accentuate on anything, he gives this right to the audience, which can now, after some time passed, impartially evaluate the events everyone participated in to some extent.

In the program of the festival there are presentations of the festivals-partners – “Human rights in film” (Warsaw) and “One world” (Prague), special projects: “Russia – new language or the Russian existence”, “Democracy. The Belarusian version”, “Democracy. The Ukrainian context”, “Video-report on human rights in Ukraine for the year 2004”.

The program of the festival consists of about 70 new films of directors from Ukraine, Russia, countries of Europe dedicated to human rights in broad sense – from the right for the freedom of speech to the right for the worthy living level, among the films – prize-winners and nominees of many film-festivals. All these films are united by a HUMAN BEING, dignity, rights and freedoms, what is the centre of attention of the films.

The program of the festival was selected on two criteria – artistic value of the films and topicality for the Ukrainian audience. “Documentary is not to be a propaganda material or an instruction, it is art, at the same time it is not for itself, but for the audience too,” – says the producer of the festival Hennadiy Kofman. The work of the Hungarian documentalist Peter Forgas “Escape down the Dunay” was selected due to extraordinary artistic qualities – the director created his film of old, archive and amateur shots of the captain of the ship “Queen Elizabeth” who was shooting the escape of Slovakian Jews through the Dunay to the Black Sea, and then to Palestine before the WWII. Despite the fact that Forgas didn’t shoot himself, his handwriting in film editing and soundtrack is recognized already after a few minutes of review. The film got a prize as the best documentary at the Hungarian film festival, a special prize at the Krakow film festival.

The festival will be held in the format of the documentary films days, the contest program is not presupposed, since the contest presupposes a strict selection and not always all interesting films can be reviewed. “We refused from this practice – and thanks to this the audience will be able to watch the film of the young director Olexandra Polunina (Saint-Petersburg) “Yes, death” which is probably not ideal from the point of view of production, but has a very interesting meaning,” – explain organizers of the festival.

The audience has a chance to watch the films which they couldn’t watch in cinemas, on TV or buy a disc with it at the Petrivka market. For example, the work of Olexandr Rastorguyev “Maundy Thursday” will be never demonstrated on Russian TV – the film depicts the war in Chechnya undecked, and the fact that the characters of the film died after shooting this film reminds us of the reality of all depicted events. Once this work provoked a hot discussion among Russian artists – whether foul language is allowed in documentary.

Generally, the problems of Chechnya are a “popular” subject among not only Russian documentalists. The documentary film “White crows – horrors of Chechnya” by German directors Johann Feind and Tamara Trampe from the last program of Berlinare is extremely interesting. Documentalists from Germany came to Russia 3 years on end, observing the main characters who returned from Chechnya – Kyryl, Petia and Katia.

Among the guests of the festival – Russian, Ukrainian, Polish and Belarusian documentalists, from eminent masters like the Belarusian Khashchevatsky to interesting beginners who will introduce their films and communicate with the audience.

The films presented at the festival is not a production of Hollywood, they are not for entertainment, but the same time nobody will remain indifferent, and it must be the most valuable thing the documentary films on human rights can offer to the audience.

Viktoria Onyshchenko


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