Ukrainian cinema - On the road to its own identity

Ukrainian culture is still a terra incognita for the Western world. For much of the twentieth century, Ukraine was part of the territory of the USSR, and everything that appeared there during this period was considered Soviet. But should we generalise in this way?

Art is a relevant argument in defence of the Ukrainian theme because it strongly depicts Ukrainian identity despite political, economic and cultural factors. Just look at its paintings and listen to its language. Ukrainian cinema, at all stages of its existence, has affirmed and illustrated Ukrainian culture as self-sufficient and independent. And this Ukrainian theme is clearly audible and recognizable in the world: in the films of Oleksandr Dovzhenko, Ivan Kavaleridze, Sergei Parajanov, Yuri Ilyenko, Roman Balayan, Kira Muratova and other lesser-known but no less interesting Ukrainian directors of the Soviet period. Western audiences have yet to discover them. Today, a new generation of young Ukrainian directors is emerging, and Ukrainian cinema and the Ukrainian theme sound even more distinct and powerful in the world in the films of Myroslav Slaboshpytsky, Valentyn Vasyanovich, Iryna Tsilyk, Dmytro Sukholytkyi-Sobchuk, Oleg Sentsov, Roman Bondarchuk and others.

Ukrainian films of the Soviet period are an integral part of the history of Ukrainian cinema. Each film carefully captures the "memories" of a particular stage of the Soviet era. In addition to their undoubted artistic value, these films are also a document of the era. The author's perspective brings the vision of an individual to this documentary. Therefore, these films are valuable material for understanding the events of the twentieth century, for reflecting on the development and identity of Ukrainian culture under Soviet conditions.

The series Ukrainian Cinema. On the Way to Its Own Identity (within the framework of the AV21 Strategies programme, Anatomy of a European Society History - Tradition - Culture - Identity), which was created in cooperation with the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic and the National Film Archive, is intended not only for viewing films of Ukrainian cinema of the Soviet period. Its aim is to encourage reflection on historical experiences from different periods of Ukraine's existence. The updating and analysis of this experience is essential for a deeper understanding and appreciation of it. The topic of cultural and artistic memory in the context of war in Ukraine is a special, painful and topical one. Evaluation of the current situation is not possible without retrospect into the past, not possible without updating historical memory.

Each of the films presented in this series will be introduced by Larysa Naumova. The screenings will be followed by a discussion.