"Mariupolis 2", life under the bombs in Ukraine, filmed by Mantas Kvedaravicius

“Mariupolis 2”, life under the bombs in Ukraine, filmed by Mantas Kvedaravicius

OFFICIAL SELECTION – SPECIAL SCREENING

What about the images discovered in Mariupolis 2, seized in the daily life of Ukrainian civilians, when we know that the one holding the camera died, at the beginning of April (probably the 2nd), under the bombardments in Mariupol, while he was trying to leave the port city? Lithuanian director Mantas Kvedaravicius, born in 1976, author of Barzakh (2011), mariupolis (2016) and Parthenon (2019), returned to Ukraine in 2022, in the Donbass, to find people he had filmed between 2014 and 2015. He did not have time to finish his film, and his posthumous documentary, Mariupolis 2co-directed with Hanna Bilobrova, is presented in a special screening at Cannes.

Most of the film is shot in a Christian, evangelical church, which serves as a shelter for around twenty people.

The filmmaker, who studied anthropology, favors the point of view of the observer. His camera places itself on the side of life, survivors and everyday life reduced to the most elementary. Find some wood under the rubble of the house next door, light a fire in the yard, boil the pot, thank God, for those who believe in it, for having spared them the terrible bombardments of the day before.

Most of the film is shot in a Christian, evangelical church, which serves as a shelter for about twenty people. Outside, a small group is talking. Breaking news, things to do, and always the background noise of explosions. “At least it’s sunny”, someone says. But the blue sky is crossed by gray smoke and that does not bode well. The eyes are tense, but we still joke about the need to choose the right time to go out to pee. Then the shelling intensifies, the camera shakes. Back in the building. A man runs up with a piece of missile still hot. “He didn’t go far. » Another, later: “Are we going to die or what? »

modest camera

Two men are already dead, in a neighboring house. We must move the bodies if we want to recover the generator. Two inhabitants get down to it, and tinker. The machine is heavy, you have to install a wheel to pull it, and above all you must not drag it. By organizing to survive, we take the risk of dying under a bomb. Terrifying sequence that seems to go on forever.

Mantas Kvedaravicius is interested in people’s speech, the one that begins to loosen after being amazed

But the camera remains modest and does not sniff out misfortune. Mantas Kvedaravicius is interested in people’s speech, the kind that begins to loosen after amazement. “I worked for thirty-two years, I lost my house, and now I am poor”summarizes this man who shows the crater of “10 meters by 20” formed by the explosion. Another lists successive Ukrainian leaders, and notes this paradox: “The more honest the government, the more shit. » Mid-March: in the somewhat kitsch large hall of the church, with colonnades and false ceiling, a woman announces: “The Mariupol theater collapsed. »

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