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Henry M. Robert

What film will represent Ukraine in Oscar Competition?

Expert: “The Tribe, The Leader, and The Trumpeter that are competing in the national selection represent the cross section of the achievements of the Ukrainian cinema made over the past year”
3 September, 2014 - 17:43
A SCENE FROM MYROSLAV SLABOSHPYTSKY’S FILM THE TRIBE / Photo from the website kinopoisk.ru

Ukrainian Oscar Committee, created with the Association of Producers of Ukraine, has accepted three films for the participation in Ukrainian selection for the Oscar Prize of the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2014 in the category “Best Foreign Language Film.” According to the official website of the committee these films include The Tribe (directed by Myroslav Slaboshpytsky), The Leader or Flowers Have Eyes (directed by Oles Sanin), and The Trumpeter (directed by Anatolii Mateshko). All three films will be soon released for broad audience.

The first film, The Tribe is an innovation experimental film. According to the plot of the film, where deaf and non-professional actors perform, the main character Serhii finds himself in a specialized boarding school for hearing impaired people, where a criminal organization is operating. He is trying to win his place in the school hierarchy, which is why he takes part in several robberies. Soon the main hero falls in love with Hanna, one of the concubines of the leader of the gang, and he has to break the unwritten laws of the tribe. This work has already won several prestigious cinema awards, in particular, during the Critics’ Week of the Cannes Film Festival in 2014: Grand Prix Nespresso, France 4 Visionary Award, and Gan Foundation Support for Distribution.

The next picture that is also competing for the right to represent Ukraine in the Oscar Competition, The Leader by Oles Sanin tells about a journey of an American boy Peter and Ukrainian blind musician Ivan Kocherha across Soviet Ukraine. The events are taking place in the early 1930s in the USSR during the dramatic period of collectivization, the Holodomor, and purposeful destruction of the intelligentsia. Peter joins the blind man in his journey and becomes his leader. Traveling across Ukraine together with the kobzar, the boy quickly matures, goes through joy and sorrow, and finds friendship. In winter 1934 the blind Ivan Kocherha together with other kobzars was executed near Kharkiv. Peter remains the only living witness of these tragic events.

Another Oscar nominee is the full-length film The Trumpeter by director Anatolii Mateshko which tells about a            musician of children’s orchestra Mykola Shevchenko. Not only is he a talented musician, but he also creates music of his own, drawing attention of the world-known musician Eugene Haisyn, who comes on a tour to the city. The creators of the film note that this is a Kyiv story about the competition between two children’s orchestras. Everything is like in adult life: love, intrigues, jealousy, and, of course, good that overcomes the evil.

“The three films which have been represented this year in the national selection stage for the Oscar Award Competition to a certain extent show the cross section of the achievements of the Ukrainian cinema made over the past year. Moreover, they represent the important developments, specification of the directions to be developed in the future,” member of Ukrainian Oscar Committee, film critic, The Day’s contributor Volodymyr VOITENKO commented to The Day. “So, The Tribe has already won international recognition. This is experimental art cinema, which is a search of a new cinema language, because the film is shot in a non-verbal style, people don’t talk there. And this is a brilliant work. The Leader is a successful way to attract the mass audience via a story about the destiny of a specific man in the background of a historical drama, the tragedy of an entire people. Potentially this direction can be an absolutely successful trend in Ukrainian moviemaking. Actually, The Leader is a bright example of this. The Trumpeter is targeted at the children’s audience. This is an attempt to foster in the young audience the love to the genre of musical films based on Ukrainian background. The audience in cinemas is mostly represented by teenagers, and the film is paving its way in this direction. All the films are original in their own ways. But cinema screening will show how popular they will be among the mass audience.”

On Tuesday, September 9, the Ukrainian Oscar Committee promises to announce the winner of the national selection, which will be officially nominated by Ukraine for the Oscar Award. The 87th Oscar Awarding Ceremony for achievements in the sphere of cinema for 2014 will be held on February 22, 2015 in Los Angeles.

By Vadym LUBCHAK, The Day