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The 100 best Ukrainian films in the history of cinema were named. We present to you the top ten

The Dovzhenko Center presented a rating of the top 100 films of Ukrainian cinema at the Book Arsenal. It includes works by classics Oleksandr Dovzhenko and Kira Muratova and modern Ukrainian cinema that received recognition at Cannes and Venice. The full rating can be found on the Dovzhenko Center website. DTF Magazine presents the top ten list

The survey was attended by 70 film experts, including members of the Ukrainian Association of Film Critics. 

«The assessment of the best films of Ukrainian cinema is an attempt to finally form a canon of what Ukrainian cinema has been for over a hundred years of its existence, Oleksandr Telyuk, head of the Dovzhenko Center’s film archive, says. This is a list of films recommended for everyone who is interested in Ukrainian cinema in fact».

According to Oleksandr, the rating was based on the list of the best films in the history of world cinema, which has been compiled by the British Film Institute (BFI) for over 70 years.

Seven films from the rating will be shown at the Odesa Film Festival from 14 to 21 September. The program is called «Nezalezhni» and will be composed of films produced after 1991.

10. «Babylon XX» (1979)

Directed by Ivan Mykolaychuk

This is the directorial debut of Ivan Mykolaychuk and film adaptation of the novel by Vasyl Zemlyak about the first years of collectivization «Swan flock». The action takes place in the village called Babylon in the 1920s, and the plot centers on several residents at once: sailor Synycya, who wants to establish the first communist center in the village; Brothers Danko and Lukyan, who want to find their friends; the beautiful Malva, who buried her sick husband and ended up at the crossroads; and the village philosopher Fabian, who is an outside observer. The movie was called a real romantic-poetic folk cinema at one time. 

9. «The Long Goodbye» (1971)

Directed by Kira Muratova

This is the film by Kira Muratova. The director was banned from filming and lost her degree from the All-Russian State Institute of Cinematography after the release of this film. This is a tragicomedy about the separation and the difficult relationship between the son and his mother. The young boy Sasha lives with his mother, who over-educates and cares for him even though he is already a grown-up. Young man returns from his father after a summer vacation , with whom he went on an archeological expedition, with a firm intention to move to live with him in Novosybirsk. The mother accidentally finds out about Sasha’s plans and tries various unethical ways to keep him. 

8. «The White Bird with the Black Mark» (1970)

Directed by Yuri Illenko

This is the film by Yuri Illenko and co-authored by actor Ivan Mykolaychuk. This is a portrait of a closed hutsul community on the tide of epochs. The action takes place in Bukovyna, near the border with Romania in the period from 1937 to 1947. The main characters are the hutsul family Dzvonari. The three eldest sons — Petro, Orest and Georgy – play in a small orchestra together with their father. The poverty of the family forces the sons to work as labourers for the «masters». Guys love one-for-three girl, Dana, the daughter of the local priest. A personal family tragedy unfolds against the background of rumors about the coming of Soviet power and the war.

7. «Flights in dreams and in reality» (1982)

Directed by Roman Balayan

This is the Roman Balayan’s cult tragicomedy about the crisis of middle age and the resistance to the moralizer life of Brezhnev’s late reign. The film tells the story of Sergij, an engineer at the Architectural Bureau, who desperately clings to youth on the eve of his 40th birthday. This is a story about three days of aimless wanderings and the main character’s attempts to accept the fact of maturity.The film was not once censored, calling it anti-soviet. «Flights in dreams and in reality» had a successful international premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and in New York City at the Tournament of Russian Cinemas, however.

6. «Asthenic Syndrome» (1989)

Directed by Kira Muratova

This film gave Kira Muratova international fame and the Silver Bear of the Berlinale. This film is about radical reality before the political revolutions and about the ruination of illusions and the shock of encountering reality. This is the first time in the history of Soviet cinema that a dirty word is used in this typologically expressive and at the same time marginal film by Muratova. «The asthenic syndrome consists of two parts» color and black and white.The first part is about a depressed woman who has buried her husband. Then the first part flows smoothly into the other in the best traditions of postmodernism, where the main character is a schoolteacher. He suffers from asthenic syndrome — he suddenly falls asleep in the most unexpected places.

5. «The Stone Cross» (1968)

Directed by Leonid Osyka

Leonid Osyka’s film is a landmark representative of the «Ukrainian poetry» in a trio of authors together with Sergiy Paradzhanov and Yuri Illenko.The film combines two novels by Vasyl Stefanyk «The Stone Cross» and «The Villain». In the story, a villager, Ivan Didukha, catches a thief in his home on the eve of emigration. The owner of the house gives him a night trial, which will have an unexpected ending for the villain. The other part of the film is more focused on Ivan’s farewell to his homeland and his departure as a metaphor of death.

4. «The Tribe» (2014)

Directed by Myroslav Slaboshpickij

This is the winner of the Cannes Critics’ Week and one of the most talked-about films in the new history of Ukrainian cinema. Slaboshpitsky’s drama is a story wholly told in gesture-based language, there are no replicas, as the action takes place in an orphanage for the deaf. The main character is a kid named Sergij. The child comes to the boarding school and gets acquainted with the representatives of the criminal organization «Tribe». Sergij becomes a part of the gang and pimp for local girl Anya later. The young man falls in love with the girl, trying to save her from further sex slavery.

3. «The Man with the Camera» (1930)

Directed by Dzyga Vertov

This is the masterpiece of cinematic avant-garde and a film that is among the ten most significant documentaries in the history of world cinema according to Total Film. «The Man with the Camera» is a chronicle of one day in the life of the megapolis Odesa, Kharkiv and Kyiv at the time of the new economic policy. The film was made without a clear script, replicas and intertitles with the aim of developing a film language separate from the language of theater and literature. «The Man with the Camera» is remarkable for its camerawork and editing techniques, which made it a guide for the next generation of filmmakers.

2. «Earth» (1930)

Directed by Oleksandr Dovzhenko

This is the picture of collectivization of the late 20s, the history of the creation of the first collective farms and the depiction of class warriors which is shown in the film by Oleksandr Dovzhenko. This film made him famous all over the world. «Earth» has long been forbidden by the authorities. This film was recognized as one of the 12 most outstanding achievements of world cinema at the international referendum of film critics in Brussels in 1958. The Ukrainian distribution of the full version of the film took place only in 1970.

1. «Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors» (1964)

Directed by Sergiy Paradzhanov

This is the film adaptation of novel by Mykhailo Kotsiubynsky, which became a key film in the works of Sergiy Paradzhanov and launched the Ukrainian «poetic» cinema in the mid-60s. The plot centers on two hutsul families and their children, Ivan and Marichka, who fall in love with each other. Ivan is forced to go to work as an adult, and Marichka promises to wait for him. The girl dies later, and Ivan can’t settle down without his beloved. The protagonist marries the beautiful Palagna, but Marichka’s spirit doesn’t leave him.

View the complete list

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