KULTURFILM: CINEMATOGRAPHIC REVISION OF THE DONBAS IN LVIV
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On June 2, at 18:00, Lviv will host the third event within the Kulturfilm. Cinematographic Revision of the Donbas project: a discussion on the topic Cinematographic Revision of Perestroika: Miners’ Strikes in the Donbas and a screening of the July Storms duology: films Strike (1989) and Blowout (1991) from directors Anatoliy Karas and Viktor Shkurin.
Viktor Kripchenko, cinematographer of the July Storms duology;
Stanislav Menzelevskyi, Head of Research and Programming Department at Dovzhenko Centre, compiler of Cinematographic Revision of the Donbas;
Kateryna Yakovlenko, post-graduate student at Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, co-author of the publication;
Lyusya Zorya, co-ordinator of Dovzhenko Centre’s projects.
The Kopernik cinema, Lviv, 9 Kopernika St.
The Cinematographic Revision of the Donbas project is supported by:
Rosa Luxemburg Foundation / Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung
State Foundation for Fundamental Research
Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Center
1989, UkrSSR, Ukrkinokhronika, Krynytsya Production Group, 82 min.
1991, UkrSSR, Ukrkinokhronika, Krynytsya Production Group, 75 min.
Written and directed by Anatoliy Karas, Viktor Shkurin
Cinematography Viktor Kripchenko, Serhiy Tymofeyev
Sound Supervisor Yuriy Rastorhuev
Music by Oleksandr Smetana
Editor Nina Korolyova
July Storms is a duology about the first mass protests in Soviet Ukraine after a long time. The two parts of the duology, Strike and Blowout, look at two unprecedented in their scale waves of miners' strikes in Donetsk in 1989 and 1990 respectively. Several hundred thousand miners took part in those historic strikes. These events themselves became a significant factor in the history of the collapse of the Soviet communist system.
Protests in the Donbas began in July 1989 – over a hundred mines stopped working. A week from the beginning of the miners’ strike it became the subject of a special television appeal by Mikhail Gorbachev. Representatives of the strike committee were invited to Moscow for talks, where all their demands were temporarily satisfied. Along with the unfolding strike and speeches of miners on a square in Donetsk, the filmmakers observe the miserable living conditions of miners and severe working conditions at the Lidiyevka mine.
The second film from the July Storms duology starts with the accident at the K.I. Pochenkov mine in February 1990, which took lives of 13 miners. After the summer protests the real situation at the mines hardly changed, which results in the second wave of miners’ protests in 1990-1991. This time the miners’ slogans include political demands, such as decommunisation of power and independence for Ukraine. The miners’ representatives meet with Communist officials, including the last First Secretary of Ukrainian Communist Party Central Committee Stanislav Hubenko and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR Nikolai Ryzhkov. The August Coup and the final collapse of the Soviet Union find Donbas miners in strike committees.
In this film, its directors Anatoliy Karas and native of Donetsk Viktor Shkurin capture, with enthusiasm and anxiety, the history of birth and development of the miners’ protest movement. The camera of Anatoliy Kripchenko and Serhiy Tymofeyev can not take its eyes off the passionate speeches of the strikers and closely records the evolution of the protest’s slogans. In 1993, the Independent Trade Union of Miners, the strike committee of Donetsk and Krynytsya production group nominated the authors of July Storms for Shevchenko Prize, which they eventually received.
From the modern viewer’s perspective, July Storms is a priceless document of the Perestroika era. We first of all see the early rays of awakening political consciousness of modern Ukrainians, which will carry on to the Revolution on Granite, Ukraine without Kuchma and the two Maidans of today. And Ukraine's Independence, the 25th anniversary of which is celebrated this year, was a result of public protests similar to those depicted in July Storms. Besides, it will be difficult to avoid analogies with the recent historical events in Ukraine. Thus, among the participants of the strike collisions in the film we can see several players of the recent Ukrainian political scene – the former people’s deputies Yuriy Boldyrev and Petro Symonenko. Another interesting fact is that most of the events in the film take place on the square in front of the regional Party Committee – the same building, which until 2014 housed Donetsk Regional State Administration, the seizure of which became the starting point of the DNR project.
The Kulturfilm. Cinematographic Revision of the Donbas project is supported by Rosa Luxemburg Foundation with the funds of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Germany.