On February 24, 2023, on the anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the documentary Eastern Front by Ukrainian directors Yevhen Tiratenko (second from left) and Vitaly Mansky (first from left) was presented at the Berlinale festival. The film crew is pictured.
Berlin – In Ukraine, everyone tries to do the best they can. Jevhen Titarenko announced this today in the German capital at the Berlinale film festival during the premiere of his documentary Eastern Front. The film, which was co-produced by Ukraine, Lithuania, the United States and the Czech Republic, was shot by Titarenko together with director Vitalij Manský. The audience appreciated the film with several minutes of standing ovation.
The documentary had its world premiere symbolically today, when Ukraine commemorates the first year since the Russian invasion. This was also pointed out by the artistic director of the festival, Carlo Chatrian. “Today is a special day. It is our duty to remember it,” he said before the screening.
“For me personally, it is very important that I can show you this film on this very day. Exactly one year ago, the whole world saw what Russia is capable of,” Titarenko told the audience. The director and main character of the documentary, Jevhen Titarenko, already went to Crimea in 2014 as a war documentarian. After the Russian invasion of Ukraine last February, he and his friends volunteered for the medical battalion at the front. The film captures their experiences during the first six months of the war.
“Nobody was born to fight. But we in Ukraine have no other choice,” said Titarenko. “That's why everyone tries to do the best they can,” he added. His fellow director Manskyj added that one of the goals of the film is to show soldiers and medics as human beings. The film thus presents the viewer with not only the daily risky life of medics on the front, but also gives them an insight into their family and friendship background.
“I wanted to show where the soldiers are from, what they fight for and what they die for. I wanted to show that they are more than statistics for me. I wanted to show that they are mainly people,” Manskyj added.
The Eastern Front was selected by the festival organizers for the Encounters accompanying competition category. The Berlinale will end on Sunday, but will culminate on Saturday with the awarding of the main prize, which is the Golden Bear statuette.