Keswick Film Club - Reviews - Donbass

Reviews - Donbass


Reviewed By Roger Gook

Today is Remembrance Sunday, when we commemorate the sacrifice made by many in previous wars to protect our way of life. So it's perhaps particularly apt that we are showing a war film. But wars in the past have been against a clear enemy with battles, a degree of honour as enshrined in the Geneva Convention, some heroes and a clear winner. This film shows how war and conflict has changed. Here we are dealing with corruption, propaganda, mis-information and false news.

The title of the film, Donbass, is the Eastern region of the Ukraine bordering Russia. Here there is a strong separatist movement, not supported by the majority of the population, but supported overtly and covertly by Russia. There has been conflict in the area for years and this film shows a number of true incidents, not directly connected with each other except by the absurdity of the situations.

It has been described as a dark comedy but we are not talking Dad's Army. Here the laughs are awkward, hard won and guilty. One reviewer said that if you are Ukrainian, be sure to have a friend with you so you can go for a drink afterwards. I would add that even if you are Cumbrian, remember that Donbass is not a foreign country, it is here and now. Here are two quotes for our own time of political turmoil:

Reality is a commodity, and its only value is in whether or not it can be sold to the masses.

When truth can no longer be used as a weapon, it must be replaced with something far more powerful and far more dangerous - lies.

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Keswick Film Club won the Best New Film Society at the British Federation Of Film Societies awards in 2000.

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