Mariupolis

dir. Mantas Kwedarawicius 2016 Lithuania, Germany, France, Ukraine 90 min.
2016 - Millennium Docs Against Gravity; 2016 – IFF Berlin; 2016 - IFF Hong Kong
The city of a half a million is waiting for a war: for some it's an occasion for fight, for others it's the best time to repair shoes and rehearse new plays.

Mariupol lies in eastern Ukraine, where the Kalmius river flows into the Sea of Azov. The city, which is centered round the steel works, seems calm but the encroaching conflict between pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian government forces is tangible everywhere. A theatre ensemble is rehearsing a piece to commemorate Victory Day on 9 May; as they put their hearts into practising their song and dance routines, they hope their city will not be seized on the opening night. The daughter of a cobbler tries her hand at being a war reporter in front of a camera while her father discusses his faith with his female customers. The fishermen hope, as usual, for a good catch. In spite of the explosions that can be heard all around the city’s perimeters, life goes on, accompanied by the pealing bells from the Orthodox Church and the squealing of the tram. Mantas Kvedaravicius trains his camera on a conflict zone and observes and accompanies the people who live there. Everyday life develops a poetry of its own, which occasionally can seem absurd.

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