SFF22: ‘Klondike’ Review

Klondike is an ambitious film looking at the conflict between Russia and Ukraine set on the border between both countries.

Courtesy of Protim Video Production

Filmmaking is quite an amazing medium when we come to think of it and truly take time to reflect on the impact of the art. Films can be made for a multitude of reasons and all have valid reasons to exist in their own right. Some films are made for escapist reasons so when the audience watches them they can forget about the difficulties of their lives, but there are also films that are made to spread awareness and make sure that stories are being told. The latter is exactly what Klondike is.

Klondike is written and directed by Maryna Er Gorbach. The film stars Oksana Cherkashyna, Sergey Shadrin, Oleg Shcherbina, and Oleg Shevchuk. The picture’s photography is expertly crafted by director of photography, Svyatoslav Bulakovskiy. The film was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize in the World Cinema Dramtic competition at Sundance and took home the directing award for the latter category.

The story looks back at the early parts of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine in 2014. A family lives on the border between Russia and Ukraine, the wife, Irka (Oksana Cherkashyna) is pregnant and she lives with her husband, Tolik (Sergey Shadrin). Things are not perfect in the home as there are tensions between the husband and brother for different stances on the conflict because Yarky (Oleg Shcherbina) is perceived to be a sepratist. What we experience is the definiton of an uncompromising vision that lays everything on the table to be examined.

I will not lie and say that Klondike is amazing because it is far from that but this film is very effective. Right off the bat we are thrown right into our inciting incident. The film does a great job at slowly building out its tension where it crecendoes in the last act of the film. If I could call anything from this film near perfect it is those final 30 minutes of this film. Everything comes crashing down and Maryna Er Gorbach directs the film with such calm and poise. Its pace is undoubtlebly slow but that’s not the problem more so that the film meanders in the second act. The first act does a good enough job introducing us to what is going on but it meanders too much that the arresting third act really saves this film from completely falling apart.

Either way I highly recommmend Klondike if it ever eventually finds its way to another screen near us.

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