SECTION: Close up UA

History is made. This is known to apply to cinema as well as politics. Since the Maidan protests, Ukraine has – once again – been searching for its national identity. On the one hand, an active civil society is working to strengthen transparent state, political and economic structures. On the other hand, historical narratives are being changed, and the history of anti-Communist resistance groups of the war and post-war period, such as that of the ultra-nationalist Stepan Bandera, often reinterpreted – nationalistic war crimes tend to fade into the background. Ukrainian filmmakers accurately reflect the condition humaine in their country with bitter-sweet understatement, often mixed with a cautiously ironic note and a great deal of mourning. For the eastern half of the country is dominated by the war in the Donbass region. This affects almost every Ukrainian. The film industry, which has been successfully developing links with the West European market and substantially increased its production output thanks to an astute funding policy, is still reeling under the shock of the director Oleg Sentsov being sentenced to 20 years in prison in Russia. Recently (by the way, just like in Russia a few years ago), a fund was set up to promote patriotic cinema: cinema in difficult times, cinema between nation building and nationalism, between critical stocktaking and a collective sense of identity. The FilmFestival Cottbus invites you to discover the history and present of one of the most interesting countries in Europe – and to understand its contradictions. BB

For more background information on this topic, please visit our FESTIVALKatalog.

The series Close up UA is supported by the Federal Agency for Civic Education.

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