“Klondike”. A new film about how, after the invasion of the Russian Federation, millions of Ukrainians lose light, water, lives
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A film is being released on the screens of Ukraine, which Ukraine sends to the Oscars this year. It fully meets two of the three conditions of those Slavic films that won in the USA in the category “Best Foreign Film”.
World criticism of the film “Klondike” was received well: the rating on the IMDb platform is 7.4, and on Rotten Tomatoes – 95%. The film won the Best Director Award at the prestigious Sundance Awards in America. And at the 72nd Berlinale, as part of the Panorama program, the tape was awarded the Audience Choice Award.
Focus watched the film before the premiere: the picture is strong, masterfully shot, but not without flaws. Its main message is the same as that of “Cyborgs” (2017): it is impossible to agree with the Russian world on any terms.
The plot of the film “Klondike” shows the life of a Ukrainian family in the Donbas – Irka (Oksana Cherkashina) and Tolya (Sergei Shadrin), who live in the village of Grabovoe, accidentally finding themselves in the epicenter of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash on July 17, 2014.
The wife's brother, Yurik (Oleg Shcherbina), visits the house. Armed Russian formations and local “militias” enter the village. Tolik and Yurik are trying to insist that the pregnant Irka evacuate, but the woman is still dragging her feet…
Directed by Marina Er Gorbach. A Ukrainian woman who married Turkish director Mehmet Bahadir Er and lives in Istanbul. This is the fourth feature film that the couple are making together. The husband acted as a producer.
The director said this about her film: “For me, this picture is a“ rocket ”against the fear of military aggression from Russia, first of all for myself.“ Klondike ”appeared at the intersection of powerlessness to stop the war and deep respect and gratitude to those who defend Ukraine. And it is also a dream of peace in Ukraine”
Focus has already reviewed those Slavic films that won an Oscar in the Best Foreign Film category. All of them met three conditions:
- The idea must be based on powerful social upheavals.
- The film before the Oscars received prizes in Europe or the USA, wrote about it foreign press.
- A dynamic plot in which, under the influence of circumstances, a serious transformation of the main characters takes place.
In the picture “Klondike” there is more than enough social tension – the first condition is met. As for the second, the film caused a considerable resonance in the world. At the American festival “Sundance” in the framework of the World Dramatic Competition, Marina Er Gorbach was awarded the prize “for the best director”. And in February, “Klondike” was shown at the 72nd Berlinale in the “Panorama” program, where the tape received the audience award.
As for the third point, there are questions.
War and life
The film “Klondike” masterfully shows the everyday life of the war – through the prism of philistine life: somewhere in the background a rocket launcher passed by. Then there was an explosion – the downed liner fell. Fire trucks and ambulances went to the crash site of the passenger plane…
A family expecting a child will lose power or water in the house – millions of Ukrainians are now experiencing all the same domestic inconveniences. However, Irka and Tolik try not to pay attention to this and, in general, do not sympathize too much with the dead passengers of the Malaysian Boeing. Their house is really on the edge: in a village, on a separate farm with three houses.
Irka, Tolik and Yurik are people from the category “village and village in Africa”. In the film, we see the same social cross-section as in the film “Priputni” (2017) – the unhurried existence of rural residents. They are also shown here without much sympathy – with small squabbles and showdowns on surzhik. Only one serious creature named war climbs through the tyn straight into the hut – the war of the “Russian world”. The Chechens are shown as the most impudent and brutal part of it.
And around the house of our heroes is the incredible beauty of the sunny steppe filled with a light haze (amazing work of cameraman Svyatoslav Bulakovsky).
But this war, of course, interferes with a normal life – from the “arrival” a hole gapes in the wall of the house. The rocket tore the photo wallpaper – with palm trees and the sea. A cozy life ends near the hole, as if near the abyss, where the characters of the film are more and more “drawn in”. Although next to the hole are such ordinary household items as an electric kettle and a microwave oven, giving a ghostly hope that “everything will work out.” But already the war, which started in 2014, has already settled enmity in their house: there is a permanent conflict between Tolik and Yurik: the former is a supporter of the “Russian world” (“Russians will come, they will put things in order”), and Yurik is his opponent and dreams of leaving for Kyiv. Closing up the hole, he grumbles under his breath: “We build, they destroy.”
Irka is trying to reconcile relatives and once even disperses them with a jet of water, like policemen – protesters. A woman constantly thinks about the upcoming birth, but the disturbing cello music of the Georgian composer Zviadi Mgebrishvili creates a gloomy atmosphere of expectation of something much more terrible than childbirth …
Cons and pros of the film “Klondike”
The disadvantages of the tape are the lack of dynamics and transformation of characters. There is also a question about the scenario: why did Tolik admit that he was aware of the one who shot down the liner? I haven’t seen it and haven’t seen it.
The pluses are the exciting aesthetics of the tape, the precise play of the actors and the intelligible ideological message.
Sergey Shadrin has just been noted in the colorful role of a bandit in Maxim Osa, here even more striking work is the role of Tolik. Unfortunately, the actor died in 2021, and now, in 2022, iconic films with his participation are being released in a row.
As for the title of the painting, the analogy between the “gold rush” and the “military fever” that then swept the east of Ukraine is presented to us somewhat far-fetched (no one got rich from the military).
The ideological message of the film “Klondike” is unambiguous and clear: the Russian world brings death to everyone – both its supporters and its opponents. It is impossible to agree with him by definition. He has his own tasks, far from the interests of people and their views. He is deadly – this chaotically crawling “envoy” of the militarized Russian state. In this sense, Gorbach's picture is absolutely accurate in its diagnosis, which was shown by the events of 2022.
Ukrainian films that claimed the Oscar
- 1997 – “The Dead Man's Friend” Vyacheslav Krishtofovich;
- 2003 – “Mamai” by Oles Sanin;
- 2004 – “Driver for Vera” by Pavel Chukhrai;
- 2006 – “Aurora” Oksana Bayrak;
- 2008 – “The Illusion of Fear” by Alexander Kiriyenko;
- 2012 – “Passed Through the Fire” by Mikhail Ilyenko;
- 2013 – “Parajanov ” Elena Fetisova, Serge Avedikyan;
- 2014 – “The Guide” by Oles Sanin;
- 2016 – “Ukrainian Sheriffs” by Roman Bondarchuk;
- 2017 – “Black Level” by Valentin Vasyanovich;
- 2018 – “Donbass” by Sergey Loznitsa;
- 2019 – “Home” by Nariman Aliyev;
- 2020 – ” Atlantis” by Valentin Vasyanovich.
- 2021 – “Bad Roads” by Natalka Vorozhbit.
Only the film “East-West” (2000), produced by Ukrainian Alexander Rodnyansky, was n nominated for an Oscar.