DOK Leipzig Film Festival

Rodnye (Close Relations)

Rodnye (Close Relations)

Over the past few years, Vitaly Mansky’s own voice has found its way into his films again and again. He is a laconic commentator, deliberately factual and yet not without emotions. He wishes he had never been forced to make this film. This is how “Rodnye (Close Relations)” begins, his report of the eventful year between May 2014 and May 2015. For the Ukraine – the subject of the film – it was the most important year since World War Two ended: an ongoing political earthquake that left no stone standing and – to stick to the metaphors of social seismography – opened deep rifts between the people. Mansky’s balancing act does not lead to just anybody but to his nearest relatives. His birthplace in Lviv is the starting point of a journey that has much to offer. Surprise: his mother speaks Ukrainian; his great uncle is still alive – in Donbass! But also disappointment: the aunts – one of them living in western Ukraine, the other on the Crimea – have stopped talking to each other. And shock: his cousin’s son was drafted, which in late 2014 carries a deeper meaning.

Mansky himself has now moved out of his home near the Kremlin and lives in emigration, like so many others. There’s no place for nostalgia in his still disintegrating “home country”, his film teaches us – an attempt to approach the issue by a man who’s deliberately growing more and more estranged.

Barbara Wurm

Nominated for MDR Film Prize
Original Title: Rodnye (Close Relations)
Country: Latvia, Germany, Estonia, Ukraine
Year: 2016
Language: Russian, Ukrainian
Subtitle: English
Runtime: 112 min.
Format: DCP
Color: Colour
Director: Vitaly Mansky
Producer: Simone Baumann, Guntis Trekteris, Natalya Manskaya, Marianna Kaat
Cinematographer: Aleksandra Ivanova
Editor: Pēteris Ķimelis, Gunta Ikere
Music: Harmo Kallaste
Sound: Harmo Kallaste
Script: Vitaly Mansky

The annotations to the films in the Official Selection were written by the members of the selection committee and guest authors. All quotes from DOK Leipzig 2018 catalogue articles must be identified as such and cite the author's name. All articles where no author’s name is given are production notes.