In Fall 2019, Ukrainian Homelands returned to IU Cinema with screenings of films that explore memory as one of the central elements for facilitating transcultural and transnational conversation about what we know of ourselves and others, what we remember and what we forget. The series touches upon the delicate nature of memorial connections that develop and dissolve, revealing individual and generational traumas and illuminating possible roads to healing and recovery. A post-film discussion followed each screening. This partnership is supported through IU Cinema’s Creative Collaborations program, with additional support from the Ukrainian Studies Organization, the College of Arts and Sciences’ Themester 2019: Remembering and Forgetting, the Russian and East European Institute, the Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures, the Office of International Affairs, and the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + DesignCurated by doctoral student Nataliya Shpylova-Saeed and lecturer Svitlana Melnyk, both in the Department and East European Languages and Cultures, Ukrainian Homelands featured three films this fall. Sergei Loznitsa’s Donbass (2018), screened on October 27, consists of a series of narrative fragments touching upon the nature of the current war between Russia and Ukraine. Eschewing conventional depictions of war, the film replaces chronological and historical order with a grotesque and phantasmagorical scene that reveals the absurdity of destruction. On November 3, the series continued with a screening of Everything is Illuminated (2005). Directed by Liev Schreiber and based on the autobiographical novel by Jonathan Foer, the film follows Foer on a trip that he undertakes from the US to Ukraine in a quest to find the woman who saved his grandfather from execution by the Nazis during World War II. The journey yields new geographical experiences, as well as a new psychological and imaginative space that appears to be marked with existential traumas. On November 16, the series concluded with Akhtem Sietablayev’s Cyborgs: Heroes Never Die (2017). Nominated for an Oscar in the Best Foreign Language Film category, the film raises issues of loss, trauma, and memory as it focuses on five men who participate in combat to regain control of Donetsk International Airport as the war between Russia and Ukraine unfolds.
Ukrainian Homelands Film Series
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