20.10.2012 — 20.10.2012

18:00             20:30


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Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Center presents the opening film of the 42nd Molodist International Film Festival Self-Seeker (1929) by Mykola Shpykovskyi accompanied by the Symphony Orchestra of the National Opera of Ukraine.


The 42nd Molodist International Film Festival will be opened with a formal ceremony at the National Opera of Ukraine on October 20, 2012 at 17.30. Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Center is proud to present the opening film of the festival – an adventure comedy Self-Seeker (1929) (aka Tsybala / Familiar face) by Mykola Shpykovskyi.


The film is based on a novel by the well-known1920s Ukrainian writer Vadym Okhrimenko, a close friend of Ukrainian poet Maksym Rylskyi. Withdrawn from distribution shortly after its release in Ukraine (the film was not screened in the Russia and Europe), Self-Seeker spent decades on the shelves of Spetskhran. After half a century of oblivion it was rediscovered by the film critic Eugenii Margolit who fell across Osip Mandelstam’s essay The Spy, where the film was evaluated positively.


In 2011 Ukraine bought the negative print of the film from the Russian State Film Fund (Gosfilmofond), where the only copy of Self-Seeker with Ukrainian intertitles was stored. Based on this copy, the National Dovzhenko Film Studios implemented 2K Digital restoration of the film in 2012.

The music for the film was created in 2012 by Vyacheslav Nazarov, who is the author of soundtracks for dozens of Ukrainian films. Kyiv Classic Symphony Orchestra under the direction of conductor Herman Makarenko will provide live musical accompaniment for the film.



Self-seeker is a story of a Ukrainian philistine Apollo Shmyguyev, who tries to benefit from numerous changes of authorities and political chaos in Kyiv during the 1917 – 1922 Soviet Civil War. The zealous, chameleonic and inconstant Apollo quickly becomes the head of the local commissariat, but the thirst for profit endangers his life over and over again. The plot of this comedy road-movie alternately places the protagonist travelling on a camel to hostile camps of Bolsheviks, royalists, and anarchists, but selfish interests and lucre remain his one and only drive.


The film is totally uncharacteristic for its time; it ridicules both bureaucracy and fanaticism of the Bolshevics and kleptocratic vanity of the Whites. One of the few examples of early Ukrainian comedy, it presents the Bolshevik revolutionary agitation in such a sarcastic way that this caricature was immediately followed by a distribution ban.  


Starring: Ivan Sadovskyi, Luka Lyashenko, Dora Feller-Shpykovska, Dmytro Kapka

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