Ukrainian Oscar hopeful opens in kyiv despite blackouts

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The Ukrainian film up for next year’s Oscars, a drama about a family living in an occupied town in the eastern part of the country, opened to a packed kyiv cinema despite fears of power outages and air sirens as Russia’s war enters its ninth month.

Many uniformed Ukrainian servicemen were among the nearly 400 spectators who attended the screening of “Klondike,” which tells the story of Ira, a pregnant Ukrainian woman who refuses to flee her village when it is captured by separatist-backed armed by Russia in 2014.

Ira’s partner, Tolik, is pressured by his friends to join the separatists, while his brother is strongly pro-Ukraine.

The film also shows the downing of the Malaysian MH17 airliner nearby, which the international investigation has attributed to separatists, something they and Moscow deny. The wreckage of the ship forms a haunting backdrop to the film.

Ukrainian director Maryna Er Gorbach said her film was intended to show how ordinary people try to continue living even in the face of catastrophe, torn between love of home and the desire to be free and safe.

“During the 100 minutes I had to keep an eye on the news for air raid sirens. There weren’t any so I’m very happy,” she told Reuters.

“Now we also have a generator here (…) If an anti-aircraft alarm goes off, those who want to get out can do so. But the projection will continue.”

Commenting on the theme of her film, she said that many foreign viewers had contacted her to say they were unaware that fighting had already broken out in Ukraine in 2014, eight years before Russia launched its full-scale invasion on 24 September. february.

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“Now the world is demanding to know what is happening in Ukraine,” Gorbach said, adding that his film was not about taking sides, but about recounting a complex human tragedy.

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