LEVELS OF DEMOCRACY: UKRAINE FILM WEEKEND
Fri 18 – Sun 20 March 2016

Focusing on radical documentary in Ukrainian cinema, this weekend includes films from the 1920s–30s to the perestroika era, a profile on filmmaker Sergei Loznitsa and the world premiere of Test Dept’s new live soundtrack to Mikhail Kaufman’s recently rediscovered 1931 silent film masterpiece An Unprecedented Campaign. Including Q&As with Ivan Kozlenko of Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Centre and political historians Anna Reid and Jonathan Charley.

Non-fiction played a crucial role in the history of Ukrainian film. During the 1920s VUFKU film studios produced newsreels and culture films, including the restored films presented here by Dziga Vertov, Mikhail Kaufman and Oleksandr Dovzhenko.

These radical film experiments became impossible as the Stalinist notion of documentary film as a weapon of propaganda dominated. The perestroika period in the late 1980s changed this and we present four films from this period in the screening Levels of Democracy.

A focus on the Belarus born and Ukraine raised director Sergei Loznitsa continues to look at the legacy of documentary, propaganda and archival film, including his new feature about the failed coup of August 1991 that signaled the fall of the Soviet Union.


Oleksandr Dovzhenko: Earth

Fri 18 March, 6.15pm (83min + Q&A) 

Tyneside Cinema

Dovzhenko is considered as the father of Ukrainian cinema with Earth regarded as his masterpiece. Merging... more


Felix Sobolev: The Target is Your Brain

Sat 19 March, 12.45pm (56min + Q&A)

Tyneside Cinema

‘This film is about a plot against reason. The target is your brain’. Sobolev's last... more


Levels of Democracy

Sat 19 March, 2.50pm (100min + Q&A)

Tyneside Cinema

Rare short films made during perestroika, when documentary film could again have a social and political role... more


Sergei Loznitsa: The Event

Sat 19 March, 5.45pm (74min + Director Q&A)

Tyneside Cinema

Loznitsa’s new film is a found-footage epic about the failed coup of August 1991 that signaled the fall of the... more



Test Dept: Live soundtrack to Mikhail Kaufman's film An Unprecedented Campaign

Sat 19 March, 9pm (71min + Q&A)

Tyneside Cinema

The proletariat, having become master of one sixth... more


Dziga Vertov: Enthusiasm (Symphony of the Donbas)

Sun 20 March, 12.45pm (67min + Q&A)

Tyneside Cinema

Vertov’s first sound film, shot in the coal-rich Donbas area of Eastern Ukraine, was the first... more


Sergei Loznitsa: Revue

Sun 20 March, 2.45pm (83min + Q&A)

Tyneside Cinema

Revue is based on archive propaganda newsreels produced in the USSR in the 1950s and 60s. It shows the almost forgotten... more


Sergei Loznitsa: Maidan

Sun 20 March, 5.15pm (130min + Q&A)

Tyneside Cinema

Maidan chronicles the civil uprising against the regime of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych that took place in Kyiv... more



Mikhail Kaufman: In Spring

Sun 20 March, 8.30pm (60min + Q&A)

Tyneside Cinema

In this declaration of love for Kyiv, Kaufman uses a hidden camera for the first time to show the awakening city after winter,... more