Ukrainian Film Days, 5-8 December 2019

Ukraine presents its best contemporary films, showcasing this country’s fine tradition in film-making and the current wave of innovation across the arts.

Ukraine’s cinema industry is now experiencing a major renaissance following a revamp of cultural policies and a sharp rise in interest across Ukrainian society, as the nation attempts to come to grips with its history, culture and complex identity, especially in light of turbulent current events and the war with Russia.




MR JONES (05/12/2019, 7:30pm) at Cine Lumiere

Ukraine/Poland/UK  2019 / 119min / dir. Agnieszka Holland, with James Norton, Vanessa Kirby, Peter Sarsgaard/ English, Ukrainian, Russian, Welsh, with English subtitles

James Norton stars as Gareth Jones, a Welsh journalist travelling to the Soviet Union on a reporting assignment in the 1930s. Jones escapes his cynical circle of media expats in Moscow and embarks on a secret trip south to Ukraine, following a tip-off about a raging famine. He encounters eerie and haunting scenes of human tragedy but his eye-witness accounts are later dismissed and denied.

Tickets £13 (£11). Book via Cine Lumiere.


HOMEWARD (06/12/2019, 6:30pm) at Cine Lumiere

Ukraine/2019/97 min/ dir. Nariman Aliev, with Akhtem Seitablayev, Remzi Bilyalov, Dariya Barihashvili, Anatoliy Marempolskiy/Crimean Tatar, Ukrainian, Russian, Arabic eith English subtitles.

A road movie and family drama. A Crimean Tatar father who’s lost his son to the war between Russia and Ukraine resolves to bring the boy’s body back to the land of his birth. He and his younger son set out on a journey to their home in Crimea that will profoundly mark their relationship. This film was featured at the “Un certain regard” programme at the Cannes Film Festival. The screening will be followed by a talk with Akhtem Seitablayev, a leading actor in this production and voted "Ukraine's best actor" in 2019, moderated by Luke Harding, Foreign Correspondent for “The Guardian.”

Tickets £13 (£11). Book via Cine Lumiere.


THE WILD FIELDS (07/12/2019, 5:30pm) at Curzon Soho

Ukraine / 2018 / 120 min. / dir. Iaroslav Lodygin with Oleg Moskalenko, Vladimir Yamnenko, Olexiy Gorbunov, Ruslan Khazipov, George Povolotsky, Eugene Muts, /Ukrainian, Russian, dialect, with English subtitles

A story of gang fights, childhood friendships and burgeoning love, this film is based on a novel  by Ukraine’s cult contemporary writer Serhiy Zhadan. Herman returns to his small hometown in Donbas only to find that his older brother has disappeared, leaving Herman to fight for the family business — an old and rusty gas station.  Local plots are brewing in town, and Herman must decide whether to run from his problems or stay and fight for what’s his. Followed by a talk with the film director Iaroslav Lodygin, moderated by Luba Mikhailova, founder of Izolyatsiya, a platform for cultural initiatives from Donetsk, forced out of its premises with the onset of the war with Russia in 2014. 

Tickets £16.90 (£15.40). Book via Curzon Soho


VOLCANO (08/12/2019, 11am) at Curzon Soho

Ukraine/Germany/Monaco / 2018 / 106min./ dir. Roman Bondarchuk, with Victor Zhdanov, Sergiy Stepanskiy, Khrystyna Deilyuk, Tamara Sotsenko / Ukrainian, with English subtitles

A series of odd encounters for the handsome young urban professional Lukas, an OSCE interpreter who finds himself stranded on the endless Ukrainian steppe while on a fact-finding mission for work. Confronted by a universe beyond his imagination, where life seems utterly detached from any identifiable structure, Lukas learns to survive and even falls in love. As his contempt for provincial life slowly melts away, Lukas begins to glimpse a happiness that he never knew could exist.

The screening will be followed by a talk with Roman Bondarchuk, the film director. 

Tickets £16.90 (£15.40). Book via Curzon Soho.


SWAN LAKE: THE ZONE (08/12/2019, 7pm) at Cine Lumiere

Soviet Union/Canada/US/Sweden /1990 / 96min /dir. Yuri Ilyenko with Victor Solovyov, Lyudmila Yefimenko, Maia Bulgakova, Pylyp Ilyenko /Ukrainian, with English subtitles

Based on a screenplay by famous filmmaker Sergey Parajanov, this story was shot in 1990, a year before the Soviet empire collapsed. A convict is on the run and hides within a hammer and sickle monument, and when a woman comes to his aid, romance ensues. Startling imagery, complex storytelling and a haunting performance by the lead actor are a lasting testament to Yuri Ilyenko’s brilliant talent and skill as a director.

The screening will be followed by a talk with Ian Christie, Birkbeck College. Moderated by Marina Pesenti, Director of Ukrainian Institute London.

Tickets £13 (£11). Book via Cine Lumiere.


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