the scalding portrait of Ukraine that its director didn’t live to finish

On March 20 this year, Lithuanian filmmaker Mantas Kvedaravičius traveled to the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol to embed himself with survivors of the ongoing siege. During the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and 2015, Kvedaravičius shot a documentary in the city of Mariupoli, which followed citizens’ struggles for survival against the background of the conflict between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russian separatists.

This return journey served to collect footage for what Kvedaravičius called the “second part” to that earlier film: the same effort, but this time to apocalyptic extremes. On April 9, three weeks after his arrival, he was captured and killed by Russian forces.

The footage he was filming at the time was compiled by his fiancée and co-director Hanna Bilobrova and editor Dounia Sichov into Mariupolis 2, which premiered in Cannes today. It follows a group of about 30 survivors, ranging from children to pensioners, who have taken refuge in the basement of a brick-built Baptist church, searching for food and supplies as Russian bombs and troops close in.

Explosions are an erratic but unrelenting background note in the film, like a giant fist slammed down on a desk in a never-ending rage. Some bombs fall off streets, kicking up dust and smoke in the sky; One lands so close to the church that it leaves a crater about 30 feet deep and 60 feet across on the other side of the fence. With every blow someone flinches; Some are so loud you can see the walls tremble and the doors move in their frames. A dog dealing with the survivors barks reflexively, then looks at the debris beside its paws with apparent confusion.

“They told me to run away,” says one woman to another. “Today they just fired everything.”

“At least it’s sunny,” replies the other.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/films/0/mariupolis-2-review-scalding-portrait-ukraine-director-didnt/ the scalding portrait of Ukraine that its director didn’t live to finish


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