The Docudays UA opening ceremony was held in a packed Red Hall of Kyiv’s House of Filmmakers. In the very beginning, the audience saw and heard the Ukrainian singer and musician Mariana Sadovska, a special guest of the fest, who had come from Cologne by invitation of the organizers. When the MCs were announcing the festival program, they said that Yurii Hruzynov and Yaroslav Pilunsky, the two kidnapped filmmakers from the Babylon 13 group, had been freed in Crimea. Actually, our February Revolution and the occupation of Crimea were the leitmotifs of the evening.
The fest’s real eye-opener was Euromaidan. The Rough Cut, in fact not a film as such but a set of short-length documentaries about three-month events in downtown Kyiv. The editors just streamlined the footage in a chronological order – from the Maidan student protests last November to the funeral of the Heavenly Sotnia.
Pleasingly, the almanac consisted of convincing works by absolutely different authors. The abovementioned Babylon 13 was for a long time sort of a cinematic voice of the revolution, but then it turned out that the uprising had galvanized a large group of talented film directors, including those who were not part of Babylon 13. Each of them has an outlook of their own and a unique manner. The revolution seems to have at last given our cinematic community the long-dreamed-of and vital impetus of passion which will turn this professional stratum into a true national cinema school.
The Rough Cut ends with a Maidan mourning scene accompanied by the song “A Duck Swims On” – and Sadovska picked up the same song on the stage once the screen went blank. The whole audience stood up. They sang the national anthem to honor the memory of the dead. At this moment, it was not a customary – one of the many – movie fest opening ceremony but a true Maidan in a cinema hall. This brought up an association with the Great French Revolution, when even theatrical productions turned into public manifestations.
This evening confirmed again that the changes now underway in Ukraine have exceeded the limits of politics – it is the change of a historical paradigm, a civilization turnaround – in the literal sense of the word – which creates a totally new reality.