‘Ukrainian Sheriffs': IDFA Review

Roman Bondarchuk’s Ukraine-Latvia-Germany co-production won a Special Jury Award during a Dutch documentary behemoth.

Though a pretension conjures a furious west, Roman Bondarchuk’s encampment account Ukrainian Sheriffs is some-more a box of “mild east” — until a drums of fight start violence over a exhausted horizon. Winner of a runner-up Special Jury Prize when world-premiering during IDFA in Amsterdam, this is an achieved and rarely earnest feature-length entrance from executive / cinematographer / co-editor Bondarchuk that will suffer abundant bearing during festivals and on TV (no fewer than 6 European channels were concerned in a production).

Stara Zburjivka is an unusual tillage allotment of some 1,800 souls located “near Crimea” in southern Ukraine. At a start of filming, Crimea is still Ukrainian territory — though only after a half-hour symbol a opinion in a peninsula sees it turn a de facto partial of a country’s hulk northern neighbor, Russia. The dispute between a dual nations shaped a backdrop to final year’s mid-length documentary Euromaidan: Rough Cut, whose 10 directors enclosed Bondarchuk and one of his co-editors here, Kateryna Gornostai. Taking viewers distant over a tumult of Maidan Square in a collateral Kiev, Ukrainian Sheriffs provides a acquire and educational demeanour during a ghost of fight — how it comes to tone lives apparently distant from any front-lines.

Indeed, daily existence in Stara Zburjivka seems to have been prolonged inexperienced by any wider inhabitant or geo-political upheavals, a shack-like dwellings and adjacent healthy sourroundings exuding a bygone, pre-Soviet ambience. Bondarchuk’s entry-point into this friendly though somewhat disband mini-society is around Vitya and Volodya, a dual dudes entrusted by a village’s mayor Viktor with support law and order — a closest correct military hire being an vague distance, “so distant away”. The twin go about their business in mostly warm conform a place where everybody knows any other’s business and policing is clearly a matter of agree rather than coercion. The younger man, Volodya is, notwithstanding his bruiserishly ursine mien, quite tractable and genial. Moustachioed, sixtyish Vitya, his eyes always dim behind dim glasses, is a pricklier presence, vigourously losing his rage with a small-time trespasser during one extraordinary juncture.

Despite a picture’s familiar moniker, a sheriffs mostly feel like ancillary players in their possess movie, generally when city dipsomaniac Kolya is around. Bondarchuk and his editors uncover a sold mindfulness with this hapless, pell-mell guy who seems to have wandered in from a prior century, or maybe a Nikolai Gogol brief story. But as their concentration shifts from particular to particular and occurrence to incident, Ukrainian Sheriffs emerges as an episodic, wryly comical affair, displaying substantial seductiveness in and magnetism with tellurian foibles. The outcome is a life’s-rich-pageant tapestry whose apparent tact belies a abounding and stout complexity, and whose climactic coup de cinema crescendo involving a terrifying bark of an beyond jet resounds prolonged after a credits have rolled.

Production companies: VFS Films, DocuDays SOUTH, Taskovski Films
Director / Cinematographer: Roman Bondarchuk
Screenwriters: Darya Averchenko
Producers: Darya Averchenko, Uldis Cekulis, Tania Georgieva
Editors: Roman Bondarchuk, Kateryna Gornostai. Boris Peter
Composer: Anton Baibakov
Sales: Taskovski Films, London
No Rating, 88 minutes

 

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