A mobile dentist’s surgery on the frontline in eastern Ukraine: scenes captured in documentary fashion speak of normality in a war-torn region and lend a personal touch to a conflict that remains largely incomprehensible for those looking from the outside in.
Anatoly Stodola is no dentist in the traditional sense of the word. The bearded Ukrainian combines his fashionably shaved hairstyle with army fatigues, as he works in a trailer full of dental equipment. He can only provide his patients, a mixture of militants fighting on the side of the Ukrainian Volunteer Army (UVA) and civilians, with temporary care. His surgery covers a region of eastern Ukraine located close to the frontline, with Russian-backed separatists not far away. Though combat scenes are absent, destruction is nevertheless ubiquitous. It is thus that director Valerii Puzik captures the calm before the storm, and brotherhood amongst companions, as he captures anecdotes from a more peaceful era and speaks out for a benevolent form of patriotism. KT