A case study of a documentary by Vitaly Mansky and Yevhen Titarenko that had its world premiere at the Berlinale on February 24 – exactly a year since the start of full scaled Russian invasion in Ukraine.
“The message is not to give anybody the chance to think they can hide from this war. This war is an absolute reality.”
Vitaly Mansky, co-director
On 24 February 2022, Yevhen went to the front. He began to record everything: his own feelings, tens of thousands of refugees, and the friends with whom he was going to war. Yevhen is a member of the volunteer medical battalion known as the ‘Hospitallers’. Their assignment is to provide first aid on the front line and to evacuate the wounded to headquarters or frontline hospitals. This mobile unit is the main character of the film. Six months full of drama, despair, fear, hatred, bitterness, love, and, most importantly, faith in victory.
When they went to war, our protagonists sent their families far away from the front – to a village in the west of Ukraine. It was in this village that the young men came to visit their relatives before the Ukrainian army’s large-scale southward counterattack. Not everyone is destined to return alive and in good health. They come to say goodbye to their loved ones and to baptise the nine-month-old son of Subbota. As soon as they rise from the celebratory feast, they must go back to war…