Ukraine Literature and Cinema

By | December 24, 2021

Literature. – Ukrainian literature of the last decade reflects the profound changes experienced by the country. Between 2004, the year of the ‘orange revolution’, and the present moment, from the ‘revolution of dignity’ in 2013-14 to the subsequent war scenarios, the geopolitical upheaval has revived the identity issue of a nation traditionally divided between the East and the European West, but now decidedly oriented towards the West. One of the important features of Ukrainian literature of this period is the coexistence and dialogue (and sometimes conflict) between various generations, each of which expresses a different historical experience. In this sense, on the one hand the generation of the Sixties, a strong voice of dissent in the Soviet Union. For Ukraine 2002, please check

Today poetry continues to be influential in the search for new languages. Among its main themes we find the intersection between the philosophy of historical time and that of lyric time (Kostenko, Malkovyč, Rymaruk and, in a Hebrew key, Mojsej Fišbejn), urbanistic reasons and existential unease (Andruchovyč, Žadan), modernized pantheism with mythological vein (Vinhranovs′kyj, Herasym′juk) and surreal (Oleh Lyšeha), intimism, often with spiritualistic accents (Iryna Žylenko, Sofija Majdans′ka, Mar′jana Savka, Marianna Kijanovs′ka, Bohdana Matjaš), melancholy of the creative hermitage (Kostjantyn Moskalec ′, poets of the ‘Kievan school’ Vasyl ′ Holoborod′ko, Mykola Vorob′jov), game of masks in political satire (Andruchovyč, Oleksandr Irvanec ′).

In prose, if until the beginning of the new millennium the postmodernist figure dominated, in the key of a light-hearted farewell to the past, later, when the legacy of totalitarianism proved to be harder to fight, both the themes and the stylistic registers were diversified and refined. The difficult path of the Ukraine towards Europe, the bewilderment of modern man, the insidious shadows of the regime, the weight of a history still to be deciphered (including the twentieth-century dramas of the Holodomor and Chernobyl ‘) appear in the ironic prose from the grotesque images of Andruchovyč (with bohemian veins) and Žadan (more inclined to social criticism), in the sharp aphoristic writing of historical anamnesis by Kostenko and Maria Matios, in the reconstructions of ‘forgotten history’ (Vasyl ′ Škljar, Matios, Volodymyr Lys), in the apocalyptic sense of the post-Sovietism of the city lumpenized (Oles ′ Ul’jančenko) and the depressed countryside (V′jačeslav Medvid ′), in the dense and at the same time disconnected psychoanalytic narrative (Jevhen Paškovs′kyj, Taras Prochas′ko). Among the new themes we find the solitary moral opposition of the individual in the face of the chaos of globalized information (Kostenko), the ‘disorientation’ of an Eastern European intellectual in the West (Andruchovyč), the dystopia of post-totalitarianism (Ščerbak), the courage and irony of the Ukrainians, new ‘Cossacks’, in a war of Putinism against modernity (Bohdan Žoldak), with the transversal theme of defense by the Ukraine of the last European border in the East. Among the restored traditions, ‘magical realism’ (Ševčuk, historian of Baroque literature, the hermetic Halyna Pahutjak) stands out. The feminist theme is also very present (Tanja Maljarčuk, Irena Karpa, Oksana Zabužko), with a particular emphasis on the experience of emigrant women (Natalka Snjadanko). Finally, the intimate dimension of the newspaper enjoys great popularity (Iren Rozdobud′ko, Larysa Denysenko, Nadija Herbiš). with a particular emphasis on the experience of emigrant women (Natalka Snjadanko). Finally, the intimate dimension of the newspaper enjoys great popularity (Iren Rozdobud′ko, Larysa Denysenko, Nadija Herbiš). with a particular emphasis on the experience of emigrant women (Natalka Snjadanko). Finally, the intimate dimension of the newspaper enjoys great popularity (Iren Rozdobud′ko, Larysa Denysenko, Nadija Herbiš).

Ukrainian literature continues to deal with different linguistic and geocultural contexts, the result of its historical multiculturalism. In various works, together with the particular poetics of the Ukraine western and Carpathian, we find the historical dramas of the Soviet occupation (Myroslav Dočynec ′, Matios, Pahutjak, Prochas′ko). There is also Ukrainian literature in Russian (see Andrei Kurkov’s yellow intellectuals, Boris Chersonsky’s poetry); some authors write in Ukrainian and other languages ​​(the neo-symbolist prose writer Jaroslav Mel′nyk in Lithuanian; the neo-avant-garde poet and prose writer Yuri Lech in Spanish, Katja Petrovskaja, author of Jewish stories in Ukrainian land, in German; the poet Roman Baboval in French ; in the Ukrainian diaspora there are authors who write in Ukrainian and English such as Yurij Tarnawsky,

The constructive role played by literary criticism (Dzjuba, Sverstjuk, Mychajlyna Kocjubyns’ka, Jurij Barabaš, Dmytro Nalyvajko, Volodymyr Pančenko, Volodymyr Morenec ′, Leonid Uškalov) and by culturological research (Myroslav Marynovylavyčov, Vadym Skurativs′kyj, Taras Voznjak, Kostjantyn Sihov, Viktor Malachov). Some authors on the other hand are also eminent publishers (Malkovyč, Savka, Sihov). Not without effort, but with ever greater determination, the European canon of Ukrainian literature is elaborated, particularly traumatized by the ideological manipulations and censorship of the Soviet regime. The new expressiveness of the most recent texts is however to a large extent linked to the increasing contacts with the West, thanks to continuous exchanges and translations,

Cinema. – The second decade of the 21st century. reported the Ukraine to the attention of the film world. The political and therefore social instability that has worsened in recent years has produced a remarkable liveliness from an artistic point of view. The most relevant name is that of Sergej Loznitsa, born in Belarus, raised in Kiev, of Ukrainian nationality. Established documentary filmmaker, he was in competition at the Cannes Film Festival with his two fictional features: Sčasťje moje (2010, My Happiness), a truck driver’s journey to the underworld and a film with multiple temporal levels, about greed, oppression and chance, and later V tumane (2012; Souls in the fog), set in 1942 during the Nazi occupation of Belarus, with two Soviet soldiers who must eliminate a man accused of collaborationism. It is a moral apologue where everyone is defeated, built on long sequence shots, full of humanity despite the surrounding squalor. Loznitsa then made the documentary Maidan (2014) about street protests in Kiev.

The historical name of Ukrainian cinema remains that of Kira Muratova, who maintains the ability to alternate different subjects and tones, between lightness and cruelty. Nastroišcik (2004; The tuner) is a black comedy about a young man who has to tune a piano in front of two well-to-do and noisy friends, while Dva v Odnom (2007; Two in one) is a continuous intersection between theater and life. Melodiâ dlâ šarmanki (2009; Melodia for barrel organ) instead tells the odyssey of two children who run away to avoid ending up in an orphanage. The repetition and the possible variations are at the center of Večnoe vozvraŝenie (2012; Eternal return).

Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy’s dazzling debut with Plemya (2014, known as The tribe), a very hard film, set in an institution for the deaf and dumb with the criminal education of the newcomer. V Subbotu (2011, Saturday innocent) by Aleksandr Mindadze reconstructs the days following the Chernobyl disaster in the nearby town of Prypiat. Between the silence and the lies of the Communist leaders, an energetic story with three marriages taking place at the same time. Michale Boganim also made his debut with a story linked to that tragedy, La terre outragée (2011): Anya, who got married on April 25, 1986, returns ten years later as a visitor guide.

Known for being arrested by the Russians for his political views is Oleg Sentsov, author of Gámer (2011, Player). It is the story of a boy who becomes a champion in video game tournaments where you have to shoot, shot with hyper-realistic style in real competitions. Finally, we should remember the biographical Paradjanov (2013) by Serge Avedikian and Olena Fetisova, Taras Bulba (2009) by Vladimir Bortko by Nikolaj Gogol ′, and the war drama on the deportation of the Crimean Tatars Qaytarma (2013, Return) by Akhtem Seitablaev.

Ukraine Cinema