The travellers prepared themselves for the long train journey with tea, beer, meat, pasta salad or pickled vegetables. The journey by night train from the Ukrainian capital Kyiv to the front line of the Ukrainian-Russian war in 2019 took 12 hours and ended in Kostyantynivka. Anyone who wanted to travel from here on to the contested Donetsk Basin could only continue by car or bus and had to pass through numerous checkpoints. Director Kornii Grytsiuk, himself from Donbas and resident in Kyiv, boarded this train, aptly named “Kyiv War”, in 2019. Before his camera fellow travellers talk about their very personal war experiences: Couples fell out, spouses died at the front as soldiers or medics, many were forced to flee. A train conductor recites a poem she herself wrote, others curse politicians and complain about low wages and inflation. In the meantime, events have overtaken this important filmic document, with the whole of Ukraine at war since February 2022.
Text: Kira Taszman
Glad-House/Obenkino: Original version with english subtitles
This film is part of the Ukranian Day at FilmFestival Cottbus.
Kornii Hrytsiuk - Ukrainian film director and screenwriter. Kornii has been active in the film industry since 2011 and made several short and feature-length films that participated in international film festivals and won awards. His independent debut film "2020#desertedcountry" premiered in 2018 - a mockumentary about how almost all Ukrainians left their country. His following documentary from 2020, "Train: Kyiv-War," is about passengers on a night train connecting Kyiv to a war zone in eastern Ukraine. Kornii has just completed his third documentary, "Eurodonbas," with support from the Ukrainian State Film Agency and the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine (production company "435 FILMS"). Kornii also produced an audio series about the Kurenivka mudslide in Kyiv and the outstanding Ukrainian soccer coach Valery Lobanovsky in 2021.