(director: Simon Lereng Wilmont; cinematographer: Simon Lereng Wilmont; editor: Michael Aaglund; music:Uno Helmersson; Runtime: 87; MPAA Rating: NR; producer; Monica Hellstrøm: Donkey Hotel; 2022-Ukraine/Denmark/Sweden-in Ukrainian, Russian with English subtitles)

“Effectively observes the effects of war on Ukraine’s children.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The heart-breaking and candid humanist documentary by Danish filmmaker Simon Lereng Wilmont (“Graine de champion”/”The Distant Barking of Dogs”) effectively observes the effects of war on Ukraine’s children. It asks how long the world can just ignore the genocide conducted by the Russians on the Ukrainians.

The children who reside in this unconventional orphanage in Lysychansk, Ukraine (the Eastern part), come from families broken up by Russia’s cruel war on Ukraine. Their parents still live, but no longer have the mental or physical ability to care for them. The state therefore assigns the children to social workers who get them ready for possible new homes in case there’s no chance of them ever returning to their family homes.

It focuses on
three children—Sasha, Eva, and Kolya. They try and keep the kids stable, as they learn and play.

It’s not a groundbreaking film, it instead captures this troubling moment in history and shows how even a small amount of love in a child’s life makes a big difference.

REVIEWED ON 3/10/2022  GRADE: B+