Motherland, or the land of mothers

Grand premiere of the film Motherland, directed by Ukrainian-Belarusian director Alexander Mihalkovich (My Granny From Mars) and Belarusian director Hanna Badziaka, will take place at the 63rd Krakow Film Festival! This monumental work, which is a multi-threaded portrait of the oppressive post-Soviet culture of cruelty, has just received the Grand Prix at the prestigious documentary film festival CPH:DOX in Copenhagen. In Kraków, we’ll get to see the film at the turn of May and June.

When this film was proposed to us for the competition, I had known that it would be launching at CPH:DOX two months earlier. However we weren’t envious. We had the same admiration as our Danish colleagues says Krzysztof Gierat, director of the Krakow Film FestivalCopenhagen always guarantees the highest quality. And what has been happening in Belarus and on its border in recent years deeply affects us, Poles. The recognition of the international jury only confirms our choice.

The film’s title clearly marks the role of women in the fight against the brutal regime. Svetlana, one of the protagonists, has lost her son a few years ago, who was found dead during military service. She does not believe in Sasha’s suicide and tries to expose brutal hazing customs (dedovshchina), shed light on the culture of violence and abuse in the Belarusian army. At the same time, a group of young friends from the techno underground are soon going to face conscription themselves. Their rave parties may soon come to an end. Meanwhile, massive protests are erupting on the streets following the recent “re-election” of the dictator-president Alexander Lukashenko.

The filmmakers are showing the dark side of Belarus, full of corruption and brutal military culture. Hanna Badziaka and Aleksander Mihalkovich have made a film that analyses the post-Soviet social condition from the rarely seen perspective of young people. Gripping cinematography and intimate camera closeness evoke strong emotions of fear, disagreement, helplessness but also – hope. When dedicating the film “to all Ukrainians fighting Russian aggression and Belarusian political prisoners” in Copenhagen, the directing duo thanked those who helped them make the film, especially the heroes “who had the courage to stand in front of the camera” and participate in the long process of making the documentary, which took more than four years.

The film is one of 15 titles from around the world that will participate in the International Documentary Competition at the 63rd Krakow Film Festival. The premiere will be accompanied by a meeting with its creators.

Krakow Film Festival is on the exclusive list of qualifying events for the Oscars in the categories of short film (live action, animated, documentary) and documentary feature, as well a recommending event for the European Film Awards in the same categories.

Kraków Film Festival is organised with the financial support of the European Union as part of the “Creative Europe” program, the City of Kraków, the Polish Film Institute, the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, and the Lesser Poland Province. The co-organiser is the Polish Filmmakers Association, and the main organiser is the Krakow Film Foundation.

The 63rd Krakow Film Festival will be held in cinemas from 28 May to 4 June and across Poland at the KFF VOD online streaming platform between 2 and 18 June.

Kategoria: News.


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