Section: Spectrum



Taras Tomenko
UA, 2021, 120 Min

The revolution devours its children: In the 1930s the Holodomor, the notorious famine caused by the Soviet authorities, ravaged the villages of Ukraine. Meanwhile, in Kharkiv, a select group of Ukrainian writers and poets indulge in their art in the “Slovo” residential building, constructed especially for them. And yet the arrival of a young poet sees the terror of the Stalinist era find its way into this institution for the privileged.

In the Ukrainian Soviet Republic of the early 1930s young poet Akimov is overjoyed to have landed a place in the newly built 'Slovo House' (Building of the Word) in Kharkiv. Its residents are famous writers and avant-garde artists, including the author Mykola Khvylovy, an advocate of an independent Ukrainian culture. Luxurious apartments and their very own restaurant are intended to inspire the artists’ creativity, at the same time as the rural population suffers and starves. When, however, these bohemians refuse to accept the naive Akimov, he begins to spy on his new colleagues on behalf of his Russian NKVD senior officer... Director Taras Tomenko had already made a documentary about the Slovo building in 2017. Here he approaches the topic from a fictional perspective, as he condenses events and describes, whilst displaying his rich knowledge and generating an ever-growing tension, the mechanisms and virulence of the Stalinist purges. The film stands out with its black-and-white visuals, meticulous set design and imaginative dream sequences. In April 2022 "Slovo House", which had served as a cultural center in Kharkiv as of 1991, was badly damaged during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Text: Kira Taszman
English: Peter Rickerby

Weltspiegel (large hall): original version with English subtitles + German simultaneous translation

Obenkino: original version with English subtitles.

This film is part of the Ukranian Day at FilmFestival Cottbus.



Taras Tomenko, Lybov Yakimchuk
Artem Mostovyi
Oleksii Shamin
Shevket Seidametov
Alla Zagaikevich
Vyacheslav Dovzhenko, Dmytro Oliynyk, Stanislav Suknenko, Nina Naboka, Maryna Koshkina
Oleg Shscherbyna, Julia Chernyavska,Philip Illienko, Rostyslav Martinuk
Fresh Production Group
Taras Tomenko

Taras Tomenko - He graduated from Kyiv State University of Theater, Film and Television. Karpenko-Kary - Faculty of Film and Television Arts and Faculty of Philology, Taras Shevchenko University of Kyiv.


• National competition of the Ukrainian Film Academy "Golden Whirlwind":best documentary

• Special Recognition (2005)film directors)

• 51st Berlin International Film Festival, 2001, GRAN-PRIZEbest short film (Panorama) - STRUCTUREGALLERY, Panorama

• Venice International Film Festival, 2001 ARTE PrizeFRANCE (SHOT GALLERY)

• SAPPORO International Film Festival (Japan), 2006 Bybest silent film (CHARGED LAND)

• Thessaloniki International Film Festival (Greece) For the bestshort film (CHARGING LAND) 2006

• NEW CINEMA International Film Festival

2022 Terykony (documentary)
2017 "Slovo" House (documentary)
2015 Checkpoint Ukraine (documentary)
2006 Charged Earth (short film)
2001 Panorama (short film)
more movies you may be interested in

We use cookies on our website. Some of them are essential for the operation of the site, while others help us to improve this site and the user experience (tracking cookies). You can decide for yourself whether you want to allow cookies or not. Please note that if you reject them, you may not be able to use all the functionalities of the site.