Director Myro Klocho, Country: Ukraine, 12 Mins
Two weeks after Russia invaded his country, acclaimed playwright Andrii Bondarenko focused on the life he had lived. A peaceful childhood had followed bloodshed. And now, in adulthood, he faced the threat that previous generations of his family had witnessed. These thoughts took form in a one-act play, written in response to events as they were unfolding.
A brief but powerful glance at the pain and struggles that Ukrainians have encountered for generations. Peace and Tranquility not only place a lens on what is currently happening in Ukraine but what has been happening for so long. It is the only thing living Ukrainians know as a certainty—a grim yet integral history lesson.
Only when Bondarenko breaks down generation by generation the difficulties that his grandmother and mother have been through just to get to this point can you fully comprehend how harrowing a time the people of Ukraine have had for the past 100 years. They are people who want to progress like the rest of us, even at times like Bondarenko’s grandmother in the simplest of ways. In just tending to a field and growing vegetables. To be able to provide for her family and not live in fear.
It is all any of us truly ask for in life, right? Yet, the people of Ukraine are continually robbed of them. Whether from the East or the West, they are stuck in the unluckiest of middle grounds. Throughout Bondarenko’s words grab you; it is earnest and leaves you drained yet somehow spirited. If there are people like him in the country, then Ukraine will eventually prosper.
While it doesn’t fully detract from the piece, there are the teeniest of gripes with Peace and Tranquillity? It would have been just as if not more impactful if told in Bondarenko or someone from Ukraine’s voice. Having the piece translated removes the audience from it when we should be fully engrossed by what we are experiencing for those 12 minutes.
As said, it is again the smallest of gripes in a strong film, and for those unaware, it is a revealing piece about how people from a country just want to live a normal happy life without having the thought of war and death cloud over them. Myro Klocho uses photos from Bondarenko’s family to form the visual aspect of the film. As the photos turn into an almost abstract existence through the span of the 12 minutes, you are transfixed. You see the faces and wonder about the pain they have gone through and continue to do so.
In the end, Peace and Tranquillity is a film that has you and leaves such a powerfully strong impression on you.
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