Streaming: the best Ukrainian films past and present

The embattled nation’s cinema is rich and distinctive, from 1929’s milestone Man With a Movie Camera to Sergei Loznitsa’s pitch-black comedy DonbassUkraine’s national cinema is a storied and distinctive one, though not one that has traditionally received the exposure it deserves. That’s been shifting of late, with Ukrainian film-makers such as Sergei Loznitsa and Valentyn Vasyanovych finding a following on the international film festival circuit. On the streaming side of things, availability is pretty patchy even when it comes to some major titles – though a couple of useful online initiatives are seeking to put that right.We’ll begin with probably the most famous vision of Ukraine on screen: Dziga Vertov’s landmark 1929 documentary Man With a Movie Camera (BFI Player), which landed in the top 10 of Sight and Sound magazine’s all-time greatest films poll a decade ago. Nearly a century after it was made, it remains a playful, modern-feeling work, observing everyday working life in the Ukrainian city of Odessa – with additional passages in Kyiv, Kharkiv and a hop over to Moscow – over the course of several years. Full of formal trickery and innovation, it’s a film alive with the possibilities of the new. Continue reading…

The embattled nation’s cinema is rich and distinctive, from 1929’s milestone Man With a Movie Camera to Sergei Loznitsa’s pitch-black comedy Donbass

Ukraine’s national cinema is a storied and distinctive one, though not one that has traditionally received the exposure it deserves. That’s been shifting of late, with Ukrainian film-makers such as Sergei Loznitsa and Valentyn Vasyanovych finding a following on the international film festival circuit. On the streaming side of things, availability is pretty patchy even when it comes to some major titles – though a couple of useful online initiatives are seeking to put that right.

We’ll begin with probably the most famous vision of Ukraine on screen: Dziga Vertov’s landmark 1929 documentary Man With a Movie Camera (BFI Player), which landed in the top 10 of Sight and Sound magazine’s all-time greatest films poll a decade ago. Nearly a century after it was made, it remains a playful, modern-feeling work, observing everyday working life in the Ukrainian city of Odessa – with additional passages in Kyiv, Kharkiv and a hop over to Moscow – over the course of several years. Full of formal trickery and innovation, it’s a film alive with the possibilities of the new.

Continue reading…

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