UKRAINE: Donbass (2018)

Source: BBC

The BBC said that Donbass is “being promoted as a satire, which is fair enough, but now lands more like a documentary laced with Alice in Wonderland absurdism.” It’s a 2018 Ukrainian film looking at life in the Donetsk People’s Republic in occupied Donbas (and was filmed only 300km away, in Ukrainian held territory). It is a brutal, even unkind satire, with long shots of loosely connected absurd situations – the church group lobbying a local leader, the businessman trying to get his car back from militia, the long walk through a suffocating bomb shelter packed with people, a drunken wedding, and the ironic final scene of the paid TV witnesses.

It’s easy to write this off as just Ukraine looking to portray Russia’s occupation and puppet government in Donbas as a sour farce, but there’s extra depth here that rings of reality – absurdity and cruelty included. There’s the real rage at locals over their dead relatives as a mob forms around a captured Ukrainian soldier, real fear of violence and chaos and the sense of clinging to the lies you tell yourself to keep yourself sane, and that so many little details match up with Stanislav Ayesev’s reports from Donbas, down even to the paint motif on the walls.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s