January 29–March 31, 2021
Sensitively observed and meticulously crafted. . . . A remarkable piece of filmmaking from an exciting . . . Eastern European voice.Nikki Baughan, Screen
Andriy Rymaruk, Liudmyla Bileka, Vasyl Antoniak,
A title near the start of Atlantis situates the action: “2025. Eastern Ukraine. One year after the war.” Ukraine has prevailed, but Sergiy, the ex-soldier whose trajectory we will follow for the rest of the film, is still doing target practice. Unfolding as a series of carefully constructed tableaus, the film presents a magnificent cinematic accounting of the costs of war. PTSD takes its toll on a friend, the factory where Sergiy works is shuttered, the apartment he once occupied is a ruin, the region’s soil and water are poisonous, and just below a layer of mud and snow the landscape is littered with unexploded ordnance and anonymous corpses. This last detail provides for the film’s most harrowing scenes but also the potential for hope: eventually Sergiy crosses paths with Katya, a volunteer for the Black Tulip Mission, an organization that exhumes and attempts to identify the remains. In Valentyn Vasyanovych’s poignant vision of the not-so-distant future, the gruesome task of returning humanity to the deceased also grants a reason for life to the living.