Time is their ally. Review of the films Everything will be alright and Eastern Front / Day

Documentary film directed by Stanislav Tokalov Everything will be fine is an amazing work in which the director has found the right angle to respectfully approach the understanding of the life of the Russian community in Latvia, without looking for the guilty or the excused. The movie Everything will be fine premiered at the Documentary Film Festival Artdocfest/Riga. This is a very personal work of the director: Stanislavs Tokalovs has documented the lives of different generations of women in his family, focusing on socio-political issues and the search for the identity of the Russian-speaking community of Latvia.

Open and honest

Creating a portrait of his family in the context of various political and social events, Stanislav Tokalov is really brave. Not only because such films reveal to the audience something close to the author himself, but also because it demands from him constant and crystal-clear openness without the possibility of retreat. The most difficult thing is to maintain it throughout the film, allowing the viewer to both observe what is happening and understand the author’s position. The director has succeeded in this with a light, but critical and analytical approach.

The structure of the film is built around May 9 and the New Year’s celebration – in these moments, the viewer feels not only getting closer to the main characters, but also being with them. Stanislav Tokalov captured these events over the course of four years, and time is his ally in every sense of the word. The author, using the nature of these events, encoded in it both his personal position and light humor bordering on tragicomism. Year after year, despite the changes in the events of May 9 and the New Year’s celebration, the people he documented continue to live in the framework they know, but which has become incomprehensible and alien to others. The director has managed to capture time in various “aggregate states”: conversations, moments of happiness and despair. The director masterfully managed to both honestly show and evaluate the essence of destinies. It does not lack his own tenderness, sensitivity and respect for those close to him.

The author of the film, with vital wit and the seriousness of a clear trajectory, addresses questions both to Latvia’s almost half a million Russian-speaking community and to society in general, and he does so with amazing openness and honesty towards the film’s characters and viewers.

You can watch the movie Everything Will Be Fine today, March 23, at 18 in the cinema Splendid Palace.

Proof of life

Documentary Eastern Front is a collaboration between directors Vitaly Mansky and Yevhen Titorenko, which documents the Ukrainian volunteer medical battalion Hospitaliers progress of the brigade in the first half of the year after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The world premiere of Eastern Front took place at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, later the film was also shown in Latvia. It is mainly made from video footage taken by Yevhen Titorenko. In 2014, when Russia occupied Crimea, he joined a volunteer medical battalion, and he is the man who takes the viewer through what he has seen and experienced in the center of active warfare.

The Eastern Front achieves the proximity of the events with long, continuous shots that make you freeze and hope for a positive possible resolution of the documented situation. The film allows you to get to know the war not through the figures published in the media, which over time erase empathy and understanding of what is happening, but through the destinies of people. The intensity that pervades the events depicted in the film forces the audience to forget the everyday trifles behind the doors of the cinema and spend more than an hour and a half at the intersection of life and death.

The effect of presence achieved in the film is frightening, because the mediation of art is not felt in this work. The image is so uncorrupted by cinematography that it becomes not simply a document, but an affirmation of life. And not just lives, but lives as such. Among the horrors of war, cruelty, hatred, anger and bitterness, there is also love, jokes, laughter and – most importantly – faith in good and its victory over evil. Paradoxically, this film is much more about living than dying. Death is present, but it does not overshadow the moments of full-blooded life. Eastern Front shows not only that people risk their lives to defend their land and the right to live in an independent and free country, but that they live even when death is so close. This is one of the main successes of this film.

Source: Diena.lv by www.diena.lv.

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