The Smith Rafael Film Center is presenting a collection of new, critically-acclaimed Ukrainian films, all of which depict the experience of Ukrainians in the Donbass – the contested Eastern region occupied by Russian-backed separatist militants that served as a pretext to the current crisis.
A portion of ticket sales will be donated to the Ukraine Crisis Fund administered by Americares, a BBB-accredited charity with a four-star rating from Charity Navigator. With more than 40 years of experience responding to emergencies, including conflicts that lead to large-scale displacements, Americares is currently providing rush emergency support for Ukraine, delivering medicine, medical supplies and emergency funding to support families and people affected by the Ukraine crisis.
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ADMISSION: $12.50 General | $9. Senior • Youth • Matinée | $7 CFI Members
“Reflects the gloomy political reality of Ukraine and the pressure that Russia exerts on everyday life.”
Four short stories are set along the treacherous roads of Donbass, Ukraine during the war. There are no safe spaces and no one can make sense of just what is going on. Even as they are trapped in the chaos, some manage to wield authority over others. Originally presented on stage at the Royal Court Theater in London and adapted powerfully by writer/director Natalya Vorozhbit, BAD ROADS presents a series of tension-packed vignettes, each built around a dangerous encounter on the byways of Eastern Ukraine. With a particular sensitivity to the vulnerability of women during wartime, Vorozhbit’s debut feature, Ukraine’s official submission to the 2022 Academy Awards. In Russian and Ukranian with English subtitles. Director: Natalya Vorozhbit (Ukraine 2020) 105 min.
FRIDAY, APRIL 15 • 7:00
MONDAY, APRIL 18 • 7:00
“There is no other antiwar film quite like DONBASS”
– Los Angeles Times
“A sprawling black comedy.”
– Screen Daily
In the Donbass region of Eastern Ukraine, mid-2010s: a hybrid war takes place, involving an open armed conflict alongside killings and robberies on a mass scale perpetrated by Russian-separatist gangs. In the Donbass, war is called peace, propaganda is uttered as truth, and hatred is declared to be love. Life is suffused with fear and suspicion. What is real and what is fake news? Called “a darkly satirical omnibus of scathing vignettes” by the Washington Post, DONBASS serves as a crucial interpretation of the Russo-Ukrainian war, but the film is not, ultimately, a tale of one region or one conflict. It is about a world lost in post-truth and fake identities. It is about each and every one of us. In Russian, Ukranian and English with English subtitles. Director: Sergey Loznitsa (Ukraine 2018) 122 min.
SATURDAY, APRIL 16 • 7:00
TUESDAY, APRIL 19 • 7:00
“One of the most intellectually provocative and rewarding films [of the 2021 Venice Film Festival].”
In 2014, Ukrainian surgeon Serhiy enlists to fight Russian military forces in the Donbass region, where he is captured by enemy soldiers. Now a prisoner of war, Serhiy is forced to witness horrifying scenes of humiliation and violence at the hands of the Russian invaders, his medical background co-opted to dispense mercy killings to the tortured. After his release, he returns to his comfortable middle-class apartment, still suffering from the trauma of his experiences. Looking inward, Serhiy tries to find a purpose in life by rebuilding his relationship with his daughter and ex-wife, learning how to be a human being again through being a father. Written, directed, produced, shot, and edited by acclaimed Ukrainian filmmaker Valentyn Vasyanovych, REFLECTION is a meticulously-composed depiction of pain – and redemption. In Ukranian and Russian with English subtitles. Director: Valentyn Vasynovych (Ukraine 2021) 125 min.
SUNDAY, APRIL 17 • 4:15
THURSDAY, APRIL 21 • 7:00
Winner of the Directing Award for World Cinema Documentary, 2020 Sundance Film Festival,
A remarkable document of the Russo-Ukrainian War through the lens – literally – of this family’s creative process, but as an optimistic testament to the power of art and beauty in the face of destruction.
Krasnohorivka: a town on the front lines of the war-torn region of Eastern Ukraine. When poet/filmmaker Iryna Tsilyk first visits the Trofymchuk-Gladky family home, she is surprised by what she finds: while the outside world is made up of bombings and chaos, single mother Anna and her four children are managing to keep their home as a safe haven, full of life and full of light. Every member of the family has a passion for cinema, so it feels natural for them to shoot a film inspired by their own life during a time of war. The creative process raises the question of what kind of impact cinema might have during times of disaster, and how to picture war through the camera’s lens. For Anna and the children, transforming trauma into a work of art is the ultimate way to stay human. In Russian and Ukranian with English subtitles. Director: Iryna Tsilyk (Ukraine 2020) 73 min.
SUNDAY, APRIL 17 • 7:00
WENESDAY, APRIL 20 • 7:00