From 25 to 28 August, the capital’s “Cinema Kyiv” Cultural Centre will hold the STUPKA 75: Stranger retrospective of films featuring Bohdan Stupka and serving to mark the actor’s 75th birthday anniversary.
For this occasion, Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Centre prepared a program that aims to step away from the actor’s iconic roles and introduce the viewer to unusual yet no less talented works of Bohdan Stupka.
The retrospective will open with a Ukrainian premiere of a historical feature film by Polish director Jerzy Hoffman An Ancient Tale: When the Sun Was a God (2003), in which Bohdan Stupka played one of the leading roles. Also, within the program and for the first time in Ukraine, there will be shown one of the latest films by Otar Iosseliani, Chantrapas (2010), and Krzysztof Zanussi’s And a Warm Heart (2008).
Schedule of screenings:
August 25, 17:00
AN ANCIENT TALE: WHEN THE SUN WAS A GOD (2003), 100 min.
Directed by Jerzy Hoffman (Ukrainian premiere of the film)
When the Sun Was a God is a historical adventure film by famous Polish director Jerzy Hoffman. The film is based on the historical novel of the same name by Jozef Kraszewski. Famous for his historical blockbusters, Hoffman this time focuses on the distant 9th century AD, a hundred years before the adoption of Christianity in Poland.
Against the backdrop of pagan rituals and everyday life of the Slavs unfolds a traditional feudal plot of a fight against ruthless and bloodthirsty Prince Popiel, who, as the legend goes, was ultimately eaten alive by mice.
This pagan action film shows a story of a struggle for justice by a descendant of the prominent Piast family and is more of a generalized anthropological exploration rather than a meticulous historical reconstruction.
After the heroic role of Bohdan Khmelnytskyi in Hoffman’s controversial film With Fire and Sword, here Stupka plays the bloodthirsty pagan prince who goes about chopping heads off both his enemies and relatives. The role of manic-depressive Popiel, a classic tyrant of the early days of feudalism, enables Stupka to show the darkest sides of the negativity of human existence.
August 26, 17:00
CHANTRAPAS (2010), 120 min.
Directed by Otar Iosseliani
A comic, partly autobiographic story of an indie filmmaker. Just like Otar Iosseliani in his time, the modest young dissident artist Nicolas leaves Soviet Georgia for more liberal France.
In Georgia, Nicolas is supported by his family and inspired by the flair of ancient places. However, Soviet party bureaucrats ban his films. In France, too, local producers want to cut Nicolas’ films. When the film does make it to the big screen, its only viewers turn out to be Iosseliani himself and the legendary French actress Bulle Ogier.
Bohdan Stupka makes a cameo appearance in the film as one of the party censors.
13:00WAITING FOR A CARGO ON THE FUCZHOU RUN BY THE PAGODA (1993), 90 min
Directed by Mykhailo Illienko
A strong wind throws young Orest, son of a Ukrainian emigrant, back to a Ukrainian village. The wicked wind takes him away from his beloved. However, brave Orest, caught in a maze of extraordinary events, is determined to reunite with his love.
The film is set in the early twentieth century, although time and space coordinates are rather vague here. Thus, the film’s locations include both the villages by the Dnipro River, the coast of Florida, and the Bermuda Triangle. The film itself is in two parts. In the first, Ukrainian part, Illienko tries to combine folklore and demonology with fantastic elements and irony. The second part, which could be called American, is a parody of such popular genres of the time as Spaghetti Western and adventure films.
Just like in magic realism, in this film by Illienko the boundaries between dream and reality are blurred. Full of irony, legends, fables and anecdotes, the film contrasts with Ukrainian poetic cinema yet at the same time remains committed to its traditions.
For his role in the film, Bohdan Stupka received Best Supporting Actor Award at the Stozhary Film Festival in Kyiv in 1995.
17:00AND A WARM HEART (2008), 98 min.
Directed by Krzysztof Zanussi
Konstanty, an almighty tycoon with the personality of the worst person in the world, is confronted with a serious heart condition. Meanwhile, cashier Stefan, through his overly kind heart, loses his job and, as a result, decides to commit suicide. The boy’s heart can save Konstanty. However, despite the assistance of professional criminals, Stefan fails even to kill himself.
In the tragicomedy And a Warm Heart, Krzysztof Zanussi looks at his traditional subject of life and death through the Catholic idea: we are just guests in this world, yet our path will continue.
The film premiered at the 3rd Rome International Film Festival, where the Ukrainian soloist of the Polish cast, Bohdan Stupka, won Best Actor for his brilliant performance of the role of Konstanty.
August 28, 17:00
TWO IN ONE (2006), 120 min
Directed by Kira Muratova
The stylized absurdist film by Kira Muratova consists of two stories. All of the first part is set in a theater, the second one tells a story of lustful desires of an elderly rich man played by Bohdan Stupka. The film explores the boundaries between theater and real life, actors and people, art and death.
Two in One is one of the most unusual films made by Muratova. Its two stories either continue or contradict each other. This is the most insistent that Muratova has ever invited the viewers to join in the making of the film, which some critics called a work of contemporary art.
The first story plays out like a performance on the stage of a provincial theater. The second one appears to be a kind of a carnival spectacle. The first act is like a Shakespearean tragedy where amateur actors play Hamlet-like plots. The second one looks like a Shakespearean comedy in which famous actors shine. In the first case, Muratova chooses improvisation. In the second, she goes for a show full of interludes and burlesque.
Every time the curtain rises, we see acting which is either grotesque, or pseudo-psychological. Muratova uses this to confuse the viewers so that they do not know what they are watching at this particular moment, a theatrical production or a “real” movie. In this way, she undermines not only the genres, but also the boundaries of artistic forms.
Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Centre is a state archive of feature films storing over 4,600 titles. It is the only associate member of the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF) in Ukraine. Dovzhenko Centre performs research in the field of cinema, compiles and publishes reference literature on the history of cinema and specialized film titles. The centre stores personal archives of famous filmmakers as well as unique artifacts of Ukrainian cinema.