‘Klondike’ Review: An Uncompromising Vision of the War in Donbass

Personal and political unrest confronts a serene camera in “Klondike, ” A perspective of the ongoing war in the war in Donbass does not compromise in portraying the serious impact of the conflict on civilians in the region – especially the innocent women whom the film especially for. Ukrainian screenwriter and director Maryna Er Gorbach largely assumes the point of view of a rancher who is heavily pregnant as her life and home were literally completely shattered on 17 July 2014, the day a passenger flight by Malaysia Airlines was shot down over the Donbass, killing nearly 300 people. Irka (Oxana Cherkashyna) is determined to stand her ground even as her villagers flee from oncoming armed forces. In Er Gorbach’s powerful film, shot without interruption, without blinking, observing obscene violence and devastation in a cold light, Irka’s resistance to war is at once fierce. and useless.

Winning a director award in Sundance’s World Drama competition – ahead of its European premiere at the Panorama district in Berlin – should raise “Klondike’s” profile with more adventurous antique distributors. However, Er Gorbach’s films still sell hard, with its restlessly erratic worldview only frequently tempered by light humour, optimistic instances of domestic tenderness and remarkable beauty of cinematographer Sviatoslav Bulakovskyi’s deep, desolate widescreen compositions. Meanwhile, as the Russian military ramps up construction on Ukraine’s borders, “Klondike” benefits its topicality, even if the tensions it presents are long overdue.

The real-life plane crash isn’t the first horrifying event to put the fictional story of “Klondike” into action. That comes across in the film’s opening scene, when the humble farmhouse Irka lives in with her husband, Tolik (Sergey Shadrin) gets hit by a mortar fire – destroying an outer wall, and left inside into a ruin of dust and debris. An alleged “mistake” on the part of local anti-Ukrainian separatists – one of whom was a friend of Tolik’s not too remorseful – the incident, in Tolik’s view, would ultimately lead to he and his wife had to go out. dodge before their child is born. Irka, however, resented the idea of ​​having to leave her home during the war of the men, and stubbornly entered survival mode: preserving vegetables, milking one of their weary cows and trying to trying to clean up their dilapidated, now outdoor living room.

However, when the plane crashed not far from their ranch – the site of the crash with a red flag on the horizon, being hit by reptile emergency vehicles within long range – even the Irka’s attack must also be defeated. A large piece of fuselage was thrown onto their ranch, standing in the barren field like a surreal, boneless monument to the life lost; They were further drawn into the tragedy when a Dutch couple arrived a few days later to search for their missing daughter, one of the passengers on the plane. Er Gorbach’s script somewhat condenses history by having the controversial NewsCorp scene of anti-Ukrainian rebels ransacking the plane site – which is nested in the film itself – appearing just days, not a year later. that, fueled the ideological discord between Irka and Tolik.

Irka, like her fickle brother Yuryk (Oleg Scherbina), is loyal to Ukrainians, and while Yuryk condemns Tolik as separatist scum, the truth is that he’s not in a haste. politically. As Tolik tries to play all sides for the good of his family and the protection of his community, his center becomes unstoppable once aggressive soldiers invade the vulnerable part of his home turf. their love – with Irka giving birth at any moment. With no extravagance or melodrama, El Gorbach overlaps escalating marital tensions with the larger fight that closes the couple to a suffocating life-and-death effect, creating an ending of despicable barbarism. amazing. There’s enough vivid conflict here that the real-life Malaysia Airlines horror insert is perhaps not entirely necessary as a setting device – although the circus does come with mourners, goofs and buffs. The domineering devil contributes to the final days of the film. atmosphere.

Meanwhile, that atmosphere of chaos is controlled by the formal rigor of El Gorbach’s filmmaking. Acting as her own editor, she frugal with her cuts, choosing to reveal important information through long and patient views, or by letting human interactions take hold. fully out, sometimes at medium distances, as the camera rotates and observes. The panorama from Irka’s bombed living room – across many empty planes, meaningless farmland, towards the smoldering brutality of the horizon – becomes the film’s default perspective, as beautiful as picturesque and indescribable. Irka was captivated by it enough to suggest that they rebuild the lost wall simply as a giant window, though onlookers agonize over what will ultimately be left to see and who will. being left.

https://variety.com/2022/film/reviews/klondike-review-1235166795/ ‘Klondike’ Review: An Uncompromising Vision of the War in Donbass

Fry Electronics Team

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