MOVIE OF THE WEEK January 21, 2022: STOP-ZEMLIA

Named after an Eastern European version of the game of tag, the title of Kateryna Gornostai’s raw, naturalistic drama Stop-Zemlia translates to “stop the world” — a fitting phrase for a movie that’s all about the angst and emotional intensity of being a teenager. It’s set in Ukraine, but it could be the story of almost any teen equipped with a smartphone, social media, and the anxiety that comes along with living in the modern world.

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STOP-ZEMLIA – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

When you’re in your adolescence, every step ypu take on the road to maturity is fraught with emotion and exploration, whether it involves sex, under-age drinking, the use of illegal drugs or flirting with both sexes while defining yourself as a person. In Stop-Zemlia, Ukrainian filmmaker Kateryna Gornostai, known for her documentary work, uses her tools to crack open what it’s like to be Sweet 16 and in high school in this Eastern Europe country.

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STOP-ZEMLIA (Berlinale 2021) – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

The dizzying liminality of adolescence is not new terrain when it comes to coming of age movies, but with Stop-Zemlia, director Kateryna Gornostai’s debut fictional feature film turns it up to eleven in her documentary-imbued portrait of the kids of Class 11a at a seemingly generic Ukrainian high school. Stop-Zemlia is an intelligent film about a demographic who are so often approached by adult filmmakers in ways that miss all the nuance, fragility and genuine joy that this film brings to life.

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ATLANTIS – Review by Diane Carson

In 360 B.C., Plato proposed a utopian Atlantis, mythologically celebrated as a lost island. Searched for over centuries as real, the moral fable still summons visions of an idealized society propagating peace. Now, in the ironically titled, dystopian world of the Ukrainian film Atlantis, director Valentyn Vasyanovych plunges into a physically and emotionally bleak landscape.

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