War, peace and democracy: Ukraine in film


'Mr. Jones' by Agnieszka Holland
The 2019 Berlinale competition entry is based on the true story of Welsh journalist Gareth Jones, who traveled to the Soviet Union in 1933, hoping to interview Stalin. Along the way, he witnessed the Holodomor, the devastating famine that killed millions of Ukrainians. Jones' reporting made the world aware of the scale of the disaster, which Soviet authorities were trying to hide.

'Babi Yar. Context' by Sergei Loznitsa
Ukrainian director Sergei Loznitsa's documentary deals with the Nazi German occupation of Ukraine during World War II. The film "Babi Yar. Context" (2014) is based on archival footage and reconstructs the events that led to the murder of 33,771 Jews in occupied Kyiv in September 1941.

'Rhino' by Oleg Senzov
"Rhino" (2021), by Ukrainian director Oleg Senzov, is set in the 1990s and shows how crime and violence spread in Ukraine after the collapse of the Soviet Union. "Quite a few in Ukraine still romanticize this period," he told DW at the time of its release. He aims to "completely de-romanticize" this dark chapter with his film.

'Maidan' by Sergei Loznitsa
In another documentary film (2014), Loznitsa devoted himself to what is known as the "Euromaidan." On Kyiv's Maidan Square between 2013 and 2014, hundreds of thousands of people demonstrated for democracy. What began as a peaceful protest, ended in street fighting. Today, Ukraine remembers the Euromaidan as the "Revolution of Dignity."   
'Bad Roads' by Natalya Vorozhbyt and 'Donbass' by Sergei Loznitsa
No less than two feature films are dedicated to the Donbas region, where Ukrainian government troops have been fighting pro-Russian separatists since 2014. Natalya Vorozhbyt has turned her play "Bad Roads" (2020) into a film. In it, she tells four stories set on the streets of Donbas. Sergei Loznitsa also shows how war becomes everyday life in "Donbass" (2018, photo).

A new doc by Sean Penn
Sean Penn is currently filming a documentary about the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, with a release date to be determined. Penn was in Kyiv when the Russians rolled into the country with tanks in February 2022. Back in 2021, Penn traveled to the Donbas region and spoke with Ukrainian soldiers there. That's when this photo, released by the Ukrainian Army Press Agency, was taken.