STAY ONLINE (Fantasia Fest 2023) – Review by Nadine Whitney

Stay Online is the first Ukrainian film since the Russian invasion. As the news cycles away from Ukraine it is apt that it is a film about the internet and its uses to disseminate information is the first to appear. For so many, since the invasion, the internet has been the only way to communicate the reality of life in Ukraine. Stay Online is an astonishing film and one you cannot look away from even for a second. A reminder to the world that we should also be not looking away from Ukraine.

Read more

MY NAME IS SARA – Review by Joan Amenn

On the Polish border of Ukraine, two young refugees flee their Nazi pursuers in 1942. This is how My Name is Sara opens and it is a nail-biter of a first act as we see Sara (Zuzanna Surowy) being separated from her family as World War II devastates her home country. Her true story of survival at a terrible cost is the plot of the film and it makes for a compelling opening and closing with a bit of a slog in the middle.

Read more

OLGA – Review by April Neale

The Ukrainian gymnast drama Olga is timely and highly resonates in the portrayal of complicated mother-daughter relationships and female friendships overall. Director Elie Grappe has perfectly encapsulated major themes around a young Ukrainian woman whose ambition and talent have propelled her into the elite strata of European gymnasts. The 2013 Ukrainian uprising serves as the heartbeat backdrop to her journey, ending in 2020 by the final scene.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more