Earthy, enigmatic, erotically charged and violently bleak, Ukrainian writer-director Marysia Nikitiuk’s impressive feature debut begins like a dystopian fairytale in some godforsaken village that time forgot. Lusty young Larysa writhes naked in a foggy swamp with her ex-jailbird boyfriend Scar, while her curious pipsqueak cousin Vitka sits nervously in the dark forest nearby. Blending post-Soviet drama with magic-realist fantasy, the film evokes Valerie’s Week of Wonders, Hard to Be a God, and the works of Carlos Reygadas—immersing the viewer in an ethereal and intensely sensual hellhole of youth suffocated by patriarchal tradition.
Short Before the Feature: El Miramiento // Fany de la Chica :: The day of her “Looking ceremony” Isa is not sure of committing herself to Carlos, a gypsy from a good family.
Born in Ukraine in 1986, she is a director, screenwriter and novelist. She studied at the Taras Shevchenko National University and the Karpenko-Kary Theatre, Cinema and Television University, both in Kiev. She has worked as a screenwriter since 2012 and began directing her own films in 2014.