Eastern Front / Shidniy Front

On 24 February 2022, Yevhen didn’t have to puzzle over what he should do. He went to the front. And from the first minute of Russia’s large-scale aggression against Ukraine, he began to record everything that surrounded him: his own feelings when the first rockets began to bomb his city; tens of thousands of refugees in a hurry to leave their homes, creating endless traffic jams at city exits; and the friends with whom he went to war – a war which had progressed to the threshold of his own house in Kyiv.

Yevhen is a member of the volunteer medical battalion ‘The Hospitallers’; created in 2014, it now has more than 1,000 people. The battalion’s mission is to provide first aid on the front line and to evacuate the wounded to headquarters or frontline hospitals.

Each mobile brigade includes an armed driver, an armed guard, and two paramedics. Brigades usually work in pairs of two medical vehicles, thus creating a mobile unit. These people are the main characters of the film. From the first hours of the war, we get as close as possible and spend the first half of the year there, until 24 August 2022.

These six months are full of drama, despair, fear, hatred, bitterness, love, and, most importantly, faith in victory. When they went to war, our protagonists sent their families to the rear in the west of Ukraine – to a village where the parents of Soupchik live. At one point, 25 refugees were living in their homes. It was in this village that all the young men gathered to meet their relatives before the Ukrainian army’s large-scale southward counterattack. Not everyone is destined to return alive and in good health.

At the end of August, they came to the rear not only to say goodbye to their loved ones but also to baptise the nine-month-old son of Subbota in the village church. As soon as they rose from the celebratory feast, they had to go back to the war…

Details

Country of Production
Latvia, Ukraine, Czech Republic, United States

Year of Production
2023

Format
HD

Length
98 min

Director
Vitaly Mansky, Yevhen Titarenko

Production
Vertov in association with Braha Production Company, in co-production with Hypermarket Film and Current Time TV

Original Language
Ukrainian, Russian

Subtitles
English

Festivals / Awards

Berlinale 2023
Artdocfest Riga 2023