The story of 'Atlantis' (2019) by Ukrainian director Valentyn Vasyanovych (who also wrote the script) takes place in Eastern Ukraine, in 2025, a year after the end of a war between Russia and Ukraine. It doesn't really matter who won the war, because the whole area is completely destroyed. The mines have made any car drive a risky adventure, waters are contaminated, pollution seems to have destroyed any trace of the vegetation that will have been spared by the fighting. Neither the survivors of the conflict nor the dead seem to have found peace. This is the ambiance of this powerful film about the conflict that is still taking place on the forgotten edge of Europe. The story happens in the future, but this is not a science fiction movie but rather political and ecological anticipation. A gloomy, pessimistic and unfortunately realistic film. Sergyi (Andriy Rymaruk) is a veteran of the recently ended war, but he cannot escape the trauma of the battles in which he participated and of the violence he saw or perhaps participated in. The war is over but not in people's souls. The friend and comrade-in-arms with whom Sergyi worked in a metallurgical factory commits suicide. The lonely hero of the film cannot get rid of the military way of life, of training with firearms, of travelling in the areas destroyed by war. During one of these trips he meets Katya (Liudmyla Bileka) who is active in an organisation of volunteers who dig up in search of the bodies of soldiers killed in the war, Ukrainians and Russians alike, anonymous soldiers buried in a hurry, to bring them the last respect and the rest they deserve. He decides to join them. In a way, these people are trying to close a cycle. Maybe together with the dead and the survivors and world in which the heroes of the film live will also be able to return to normal. This is an ecologically destroyed world, but worse than this, it is people's lives that seem to be marked forever. A sunken world, like the legendary continent that gives the film its name. Director Valentyn Vasyanovych uses interesting cinematographic means. The scene that opens the film and one of the final scenes are filmed with infrared night vision camera and the effect is impressive. The filming of the war-torn environment is remarkable, with a post-apocalyptic twist. The mention of the 'zone' quotes Tarkovsky directly, the difference being that the catastrophic war that caused the destruction is close to our actuality. What seemed to me to work less well is the emphasis on fix camera and the human presence filmed from a distance. The crushing space-character relationship does not allow the heroes to reveal themselves to the spectators and we cannot appreciate the actors' work either. The length of some of the scenes did not seem justified to me either, it is not necessary for an interior scene that shows the loneliness of the hero to last ten minutes when the message has become obvious after two minutes. If these overweight had been eliminated and the actors had been allowed to express themselves, I think the film would have benefit. But even so, because of its theme and cinematography 'Atlantis' is an interesting movie made by a director who deserves to be watched. The ending, paradoxically after all the horrors we witnessed, inspires hope.
Drama / Sci-Fi / War
Drama / Sci-Fi / War
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A soldier suffering from PTSD befriends a young volunteer hoping to restore peaceful energy to a war-torn society.
May 16, 2021