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UKRAINIAN CINEMA DAYS: ‘The Trumpeter’ (Mateshko, 2014) reviewed by Valenka Navea

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I was fortunate enough to be at the Ukrainian Cinema Days press conference at the Ukrainian Embassy last week, excited to hear what the organisers had to say about the launch of their film festival programme showing at Rich Mix in East London. Igor Iankovsky, founder of Charity Foundation Initiative for the Future and main sponsor of…

Valenka Navea | December 21, 2015
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UKRAINIAN CINEMA DAYS: Ukrainian Shorts, reviewed by Julia Secklehner

Velosiped, Away and Once upon a Mine are three short films produced in 2015, shown this month at London’s Ukrainian Film Festival. They vary in length between just over two minutes (Velosiped) and half an hour (Once upon a Mine). While of course a film’s duration doesn’t  tell us anything about its quality, it’s interesting…

Julia Secklehner | December 19, 2015
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UKRAINIAN CINEMA DAYS: ‘The Guide’ (Sanin, 2014) reviewed by Ollie Buxton

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Ukraine’s past and present collide dramatically in Oles Sanin’s 2014 film The Guide (Povodyr’) where raw feelings of romantic nationalism stirred up by contemporary events bubble to the surface in the retelling of another dark period of the country’s history. In Sanin’s second feature-length production, today’s emotions are projected onto the 1930s, when  Moscow-imposed famine,…

Oliver Buxton | December 19, 2015
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UKRAINIAN CINEMA DAYS: ‘The Living Fire’ (Kostyuk, 2014) reviewed by Nick Barlay

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The Living Fire is a documentary record of a dying light. In the highlands of the Carpathian Mountains, an entire way of life is fading, one that has sustained generations but whose extreme hardships are a deterrent to new generations. Ostap Kostyuk’s 2014 directorial debut, produced by the National Cinematheque of Ukraine and supported by…

Nick Barlay | December 6, 2015
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PLAY POLAND PREVIEW: ‘Call Me Marianna’ (Bielawska, 2015) reviewed by Lucy Murphy

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Call Me Marianna is Karolina Bielawska’s  first Polish feature film: a documentary about a man’s decision to undergo gender reassignment. A hit at the Sao Jorge International Queer Film Festival, it previously won four awards on its premiere at the Krakow Film Festival too, and it’s easy to see why: with recent media coverage of…

Lucy Murphy | November 20, 2015
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PLAY POLAND PREVIEW: ‘Carte Blanche’ (Lusinski, 2015) reviewed by Judith Fagelson

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Carte Blanche should be a moving, powerful work about triumph in the face of adversity, but it somehow falls just short of the mark. Its basic premise, inspired by the true story of Maciej Białek, has great potential. Leading character Kacper, played Andzrej Chyra, is diagnosed with a genetic condition that causes pigment to build…

Judith Fagelson | November 20, 2015
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PLAY POLAND PREVIEW: ‘A Grain of Truth’ (Lankosz, 2015) reviewed by Ollie Buxton

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Ziarno Prawdy (A Grain of Truth) is the latest release from celebrated Polish director Borys Lankosz, coming in the form of a gut-wrenching thriller based on the Zygmunt Miloszewski novel of the same name. Stylishly produced and accessible, Lankosz’s film nevertheless stays faithful to the edgy artistic principles which made him such a contender for…

Oliver Buxton | November 20, 2015
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THEATRE REPLIKA: ‘We are the Rubbish from Eastern Europe’, reviewed by Julia Secklehner

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‘Close your eyes, we are travelling to Sofia now,’ we’re told as we stand outside GRAD, the Gallery for Russian Arts and Design. Upon entering, we find simple white columns on a makeshift stage, each of them holding a (seemingly) random object. The documentary play starts seamlessly, with the first member of the Theatre Replika…

Julia Secklehner | November 18, 2015
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MADE IN PRAGUE: ‘The Life of the Schizophrenic Poet Alexander März’ (Jasný, 1975), reviewed by Rachel Nicholson

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The Made in Prague Festival is currently celebrating Vojtěch Jasný’s 90th birthday. Hailed as a “film” hero for many Czech filmmakers and the “spiritual father of the Czech New Wave,” the Czech Centre and Goethe Institute are screening a series of his films as part of the Hommage to Vojtěch Jasný season from November 6th-26th.…

Rachel Nicholson | November 13, 2015