Russian cinema in the new reality. “Ties broken” talks about the conflicts between friends and family due to the war (by Memorial Italia)

Meduza ”continues his series of articles on documentaries available online which, in the course of the Russian military invasion of Ukraine, appear particularly relevant and relevant. Every weekend the film critic Anton Dolin presents a documentary released recently or several years ago, not limited to Ukrainian and Russian authors. This week’s film is Razryv svjazi (Broken ties)made in 2022 by Andrej Lošak and published on the YouTube channel “Nastojaščee vremja”. We thank the editors for their authorization to publish the text in Italian. Translated from FV. Considering it an extremely important testimony on the irreconcilable split that has also occurred within individual families, Memorial Italia has made it accessible, with the participation of Giulia Sorrentino, the documentary also with i subtitles in Italian.

This film could not fail to come out: the subject is so tempting that it literally begs to be addressed. It is not surprising that it was shot by Andrej Lošak, a journalist with a fine investigative flair and an undisputed ability to feel current events. The Russian invasion of Ukraine not only resulted in the deaths of thousands of people and the evacuation of millions of innocent civilians, it also destroyed seemingly indissoluble bonds within families, groups of friends, loved ones and people. first inseparable. Lošak explores this side of the catastrophe.

The journalist’s attention is focused on some broken relationships. Since the beginning of the war, Renata, a young pediatrician from Baltijsk, cannot find herself, the meaning of her life and her work, she loses weight, cries constantly. Her mother, on the other hand, Vice Principal Vinera, weeps mainly because of her resentment towards her daughter, unable to understand the interests of the Russian government. The artist Alisa di Nižnij Tagil has been carrying out pacifist initiatives since the first day of the war, while her mother Tatiana, a worker in a poultry farm, confesses that her patriotic sense since the beginning of the invasion has “reached stars “. Cook Natalia from Magnitogorsk cannot understand her son, the carpenter Savelij, who moved to Tbilisi after February 24. In Samara, the violinist Galina, who is not on the same wavelength as her colleagues in the orchestra, wants to divorce her husband Vladimir, a former investigator who believes in the geopolitical interests of Russia and in the wisdom of President Putin.

The rift also passes outside the country. Ekaterina, for example, lives and works in Leipzig, while her husband Artem is a programmer. She is terrified of Russia’s interference in Ukraine’s internal affairs, he believes it is legitimate. Psychologist Natalyja participates in anti-war protests in London and hugs her new Ukrainian friend who has escaped the war, while in Russia her mother Lyudmila, although unable to forgive Putin for the story of retirement age, believes that she is not now is the time to turn your back on your homeland in such a difficult time. Marketing consultant Vika is in Kharkov, she experienced the bombings first hand and for her it is all clear, unlike her brother Jakov who lives in Novorossiysk and who is visibly annoyed by his sister whose reaction to the events would be ” infantile “.

Broken ties it’s an extremely simple and straightforward film. The author is present in the shots while he interviews the protagonists (seated) in front of a laptop monitor. He does not hide his position: in this cold civil war he is certainly on the side of Ukraine. But would it have been possible, at least in theory, to maintain neutrality here and not take a position on the conflict?

The techniques used, effective and essential, speak for themselves. The split screen, which clearly shows the rift between two loved ones. Dramatic off-screen music. Countless family photographs from personal archives, with today’s enemies laughing, hugging, kissing, joking: a quiet life ended forever. Many terrible shots of the destroyed Ukraine: demolished residential buildings, corpses in the streets, endless swear words from the voiceovers, or everything that those who believe that “it’s not quite what you think” do not want to know or, even worse, believe that is a staging.

On the other hand, the life partner of those who defend the war: television with its propaganda, of course. Solov’ev, Nikita-Begoson, Simon’jan, phrases that freeze: “Our mercy will be ruthless”. And stereotypes about stereotypes, clichés, which have now become, in the true sense of the word, recurring nightmares: “NATO envies us because we have spiritual values”, “Putin is our father”, “My son has become a traitor”. One of the mothers finds an adequate definition: “My daughter and I are like Russia and Ukraine”. Another is torn between the desire to strap her daughter up and hug her. And the retired investigator bitterly states: “Convincing Galja otherwise is a process as long as the reunification of Ukraine with Russia”.

There are certainly hundreds of more complex and less obvious situations. It is very unlikely that anyone who supports Russia’s official policy has been poisoned by state propaganda. Putin is unlikely to have the support of the generation of parents, while all the young people would all be aligned against him. Not only that: surely there are good and bad people on both barricades. Broken ties it avoids halftones, but at the same time maintains a human dimension, arousing empathy.

It is not an artistic documentary, but it represents a powerful antidote to Russian television, and is produced by one of the best exponents of a different television, unattainable in today’s Russia, which is broadcast exclusively on YouTube. And in this capacity, this film is now all the more necessary, as if urging us to go back, to remember our relatives and to rediscover the human side of ourselves.

Russian cinema in the new reality. “Ties broken” talks about the conflicts between friends and family due to the war (by Memorial Italia)