After Atlantis, his visionary film, director Valentyn Vasyanovych documents the war in Ukraine

Accustomed to feature films on the subject, the Ukrainian filmmaker went to bombarded cities to show the extent of the damage.

The news caught up with Valentyn Vasyanovych. In 2019, the Ukrainian director was far from imagining, presenting in Venice Atlantis, his visionary feature film on the devastated Donbass region after a year at the front, that he would be overtaken by reality. Since the Russian offensive in his country, Valentyn Vasyanovych has taken up the camera in order to participate, in his own way, in the war effort.

Accompanied by his producer Vladimir Yatsenko, the director wants to document what is happening on the ground. “I’m much better at wielding a camera than a gun. I can learn things, I can film, I can create images, I can just watch and gain understanding.”, he told Reuters. The first images released show a destroyed bridge in Irpin, a city hit by bombing, while civilians are evacuated to kyiv. “I’ll find out later what you can do with these images, what you can create out of everything that’s going on here. I’d rather take pictures than use weapons.”.

The Ukrainian director would never have thought “that cities would be destroyed to this extent”. “Places like Kharkiv and Mariupol are simply wiped off the face of the earth”he warns, drawing a parallel with Atlantis.

We shot most of the movie footage in Mariupol and what’s happening there now, the people dying there, everything being destroyed in a methodical way so that the city no longer exists… To be honest, I don’t never imagined such a scenario.

Valentyn Vasyanovych, Ukrainian director for Reuters.

Whether or not he decides to embark on a new project, Valentyn Vasyanovych has already known how to expose war on the screen, in its most sordid form. Two years later Atlantis was born Reflection, where a surgeon tries to rebuild after being captured by the Russian army in the conflict zone in Eastern Ukraine. Spared thanks to his profession, he will be the main witness to the horrors of this war.


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