The Ukrainian film Cyborgs directed by Akhtem Seitablaiev was recently shown in Canberra, Australia. Among those who attended the premiere at one of the Australian capital’s oldest movie theaters, were Australian officials, diplomats, and members of the Ukrainian community. This highest-grossing film in the history of Ukraine was shown on the initiative of Ukraine’s Embassy in Australia.
“IT IS A WAR ABOUT A CIVILIZATION CHOICE BETWEEN A SOVIET PAST AND EUROPEAN FUTURE OF UKRAINE”
Introducing the Australian premiere of the Ukrainian drama film Cyborgs, Ambassador Mykola KULINICH delivered a short speech:
“Almost four year ago Ukraine faced a non-motivated aggression by the closest neighbor, permanent member of the UN Security Council, one of the key guarantors of world security under UN Charter.
“Despite the fact that almost four year passed from the beginning of war in the east of Ukraine, there is not much information about it in world community.
“Although Australia demonstrates strong support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and put the sanction on Russia, common Australians hardly know that Russia’s aggression against Ukraine caused us more than 10,000 death toll, including 242 children, 27,000 wounded and more than 1.8 million displaced persons.
“There are few people who know that there are over hundred of political prisoners such as famous Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov, who after occupation of Ukrainian Crimea was put in prison in Russia for his activity.
“There are not many people who know that Ukrainian team of military veterans which we expect to come to Sydney for participation in Invictus Games are unfortunately not from past but from existing conflict.
“That the war continues with casualties on a near-daily basis.
“The events of this film which we are screening today took place in Donetsk International Airport, which was opened with great fanfares 6 years ago for the Euro 2012 soccer championship.
“Two years later, it became ground zero.
“The courage and superhuman ability of Ukrainian soldiers who fought at Donetsk airport and survived heavy shelling from Russia-backed separatist artillery brought them the respect of both their nation and enemies – as well as hence the nickname ‘cyborgs.’
“But the film we are screening today is not only about war, but about the world that was born in war, about the Ukrainian entity which was born in war. The main heroes represent various social strata, professions, regions, languages, and beliefs.
“This film is about the country which they are protecting, which they want to live in and for which they are prepared to die.
“It is a war about a civilization choice between a Soviet past and European future of Ukraine.
“So, I hope this film will help you understand what’s really going on in Ukraine.”
Richard WADE, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade:
“Please pass my thanks again to Mykola and Ms. Kulinich for the invitation to Cyborgs.
“I really enjoyed the film. It caught the tragedy of the events, the sadness of the losses, and the bonds that grew between the soldiers.
“I was particularly engaged by the different characters and their philosophical discussions in both Ukrainian and Russian, demonstrating different perspectives on the meaning of ‘Ukraine.’ Thank you.”
John BESEMERES, Australian National University:
“Many thanks again for ensuring that we were able to attend last night’s event. I must confess that was vital to the purpose of taking the viewer to the hell the characters themselves were living in. As time on we picked up more and more of the action.
“What we were not expecting was that almost simultaneous with the screening was the announcement of the Dutch-led investigation team about MH17! What a brilliant timing!”
Helen BODNARUK, Ukrainian community:
“A total of 242 days. This is how long the defense of Donetsk airport lasted. For their amazing resilience, the militants themselves have named the Ukrainian soldiers ‘cyborgs.’ The film Cyborgs is based on this heroic battle. Many thanks to the Embassy of Ukraine for organizing this important event. Great movie, tragic story.”