Maryna Er Gorbach’s film is set in the Donbass region of Ukraine, and its depiction of war has a grim topicality today. The director uses the real-life downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in 2014 as a backdrop for a tale of courage and resistance. Irka (Oxana Cherkashyna) is seven months pregnant and living in the countryside with her partner Tolik (Sergiy Shadrin); as the film opens, they are facing the dilemma of whether or not to flee the area. The desperate, pliant Tolik wants safety above all, while Irka is reluctant to abandon the farm they call home. Caught between Russian separatists on one hand and the expectation of loyalty to Ukraine, the couple tries to balance the urgent, conflicting demands of civil war, and it’s no easy task.
Shot in elaborately choreographed long takes, Klondike is a feat of intricate staging, and Er Gorbach uses unity of space to illustrate the ever-growing divisions among her characters. Tense, haunting, and tragic, this is a truly powerful work of art.
Directing Award: World Cinema Dramatic, Sundance 2022
Oxana Cherkashyna, Sergiy Shadrin, Oleg Scherbina, Oleg Shevchuk, Artur Aramyan, Evgenij Efremov
In Ukrainian, Russian, Chechen, and Dutch with English subtitles
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Maryna Er Gorbach
Photo by Rafal Nowak
Maryna Er Gorbach
After studying at the Kyiv National I. K. Karpenko-Kary Theatre, Cinema and Television University, Maryna Er Gorbach graduated from Andrzej Wajda Master School of Film Directing in Poland. Since 2017, Gorbach has been a member of the European Film Academy.
Filmography: Black Dogs Barking (2009); Love Me (2013); Omar and Us (2019)