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Ukraine | 2018 | 106 minutes | Roman Bondarchuk

Full of striking and memorable visuals, Roman Bondarchuk's debut feature chronicles the surreal encounters of a government official stranded in the bleak badlands of Ukraine.

"[A] mix of drama marbled with absurdist comedy and wry humor provides an outsider's view of an anarchic parallel world."—Variety

This is a story about an outsider stranded in a border village in deep Ukraine. Lukas works as an interpreter for the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) and he is stuck near Beryslav—the watermelon capital of Ukraine—on the steppes and on the River Dnieper, a bit north of the Crimea. Sporadic war is going on nearby, and Lukas wants to escape as soon as possible, yet due to many circumstances he stays on. Then he meets Vova, and Vova's daughter Marushka, and dear Grandma with her voice of reason. Documentarian Roman Bondarchuk's first narrative feature is part Western and part black comedy, shot in and around the surreal world of a reservoir, budding love, and ripe watermelons. Furthermore, no one is too friendly in this place, and residents walk around with firearms. While the photogenic locations and visions might lull you into dreamy meditations, these visions can also be funny or turn into nightmares. Vova calls it total anarchy, and says if you get used to it, you can survive. Steadily burning Volcano has many internal eruptions. Beyond the powerful and magnificent visuals, director Bondarchuk deals with people just trying to live their lives under stress and insecurity.

Maryna Ajaja

Director Biography 
Ukrainian film director Roman Bondarchuk is a graduate of the Kyiv State University of Theatre, Cinema, and TV, where he was a pupil of Yuriy Illenko, founder of Ukrainian poetic cinema. In addition to his career as a filmmaker, novelist, and photographer, he is the art director of Docudays UA, the International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival in Kyiv. His numerous achievements as a documentary director include an IDFA Special Jury Award for his 2015 documentary Ukranian Sheriffs, which was also Ukraine's submission to the Oscars. The filming of Volcano began in documentary style, centered on the German bone-unearthing endeavors of his girlfriend's entrepreneurial uncle, but transitioned into a fictional story after the untimely death of the main character.

Sponsored by Ellison Center for Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies at UW

  • Original Language Title: Вулкан
  • Director: Roman Bondarchuk
  • Principal Cast: Serhiy Stepansky, Viktor Zhdanov, Khrystyna Deilyk, Vadim Ilkov
  • Premiere Status: North American Premiere
  • Country: Ukraine, Germany
  • Year: 2018
  • Running Time: 106 minutes
  • Producer: Olena Yershova
  • Screenplay: Roman Bondarchuk, Alla Tyutyunnik, Dar'ya Averchenko
  • Cinematographers: Vadim Ilkov
  • Editors: Mykola Bazarkin, Heike Parplies
  • Music: Anton Baibakov
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Awards: Golden Apricot Yerevan International Film Festival, 2018 (Best Feature Film) Minsk International Film Festival, 2018 (Award for Best Score) Pingyao International Film Festival, 2018 (People’s Choice Award) Split International Festival of New Film, 2018 (Grand Prix Film Competition)
  • Filmography: Ukrainian Sheriffs (Doc., 2015); Dixie Land (Doc., 2015); Evromaidan. Chornovy montazh (Doc., 2014)
  • Language: Ukrainian
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Format: DCP
  • International Sales: Pluto Film Distribution