New York film fans and those who wish to learn more about Ukraine through the movies have a wonderful opportunity this week. KinoFest, a film festival that includes 30 films from about the FSU, kicked off today at the Ukrainian Institute of America in Manhattan.
The festival focuses on independent film made in Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, the US, the UK and elsewhere in the post-Soviet era. A variety of documentaries, shorts and feature length narrative films give attendees an intriguing look at life in these young countries.
Movies are a good way to get an idea what life is like in a place that is very different from your own home. While it’s always important to remember that there is an element of fiction, you can learn a lot about family structure, relationships, geography, customs and more through film. Learn more about the festival here.
Not near New York? See if you can find films from the festival playing locally. A couple of recommended films from the festival to see:
When a Woman is Happy
Directed by Tatiana Budickaya
In Russian, with English sub-titles
A light comedy about younger ladies seeking out older gentlemen on an internet dating site.
Directed by Iskandar Usmonov.
In Tajik, with English sub-titles
Learn more about the wedding customs of Tajikistan in this documentary about a popular wedding planner in the area.
Hello, My Name is Olga
Directed by Tatiana Korol
Austrian man Franz thinks it will be easy to simply head to Ukraine and pick out a bride. He learns that things are more complex when he arrives and slowly gets to know 30-year-old Olga. Language barriers, Olga’s small child and cultural differences initially get in the way. However, with time, they each learn a lot from the other’s perspective.
Photo: Hello My Name is Olga