Valentyn Vasyanovych

Ukraine , 2022 / 128 min / OV Ukranian with FR & ENG. subt. / Drama

After being captured and released by Russian military forces, a Ukrainien surgeon tries to find a new purpose in life.

Ukrainian surgeon Serhiy is captured by Russian military forces in the Eastern Ukraine conflict zone. While in captivity, he is exposed to horrifying scenes of humiliation, violence and indifference towards human life. After his release, he returns to his comfortable middle-class apartment and tries to find a new purpose in his life by rebuilding his relationship with his daughter and ex-wife. He learns how to be human again, how to be a father, and how to help his daughter who needs his love and support.

“By connecting the comfortable day-to-day life of the capital city with the deadly reality of war, we can establish a high intensity background for a story about children’s fears and their first encounters with real death, and highlight the helplessness of adults. It is a translucent story about the child’s realization that human life is finite. This is also a story about the responsibilities of adults to loved ones, to themselves, and the whole world in which they fulfil their potential.” Director’s Statement , Valentyn Vasyanovych

Sun 06/03 20:45 Ciné Utopia UK OV with FR.subt Public
Wed 09/03 20:30 Ciné Utopia UK OV with ENG.subt Public
Fri 11/03 18:30 Cinémathèque UK OV with ENG.subt Public

« The cruelty, for once, is not the point. There is a deeper, more nuanced story worked through here about betrayal and redemption, mercy and survival, all played out with great restraint thanks to Lutskiy’s subtle performance. Like Atlantis, in which a man and a woman become a couple while searching for the remains of people killed during the conflict, Reflection is also about loss at first and then about love, but in this case between a father and daughter. Vasyanovych remarks honestly in the film’s press notes that he cast his daughter Nika because it’s easier to ask your own child to do 19 takes of a scene than to ask someone else’s kid. But Myslytska rewards her father with an open, authentic performance that catches the liminal quality of pre-teens like her character, creatures who want to believe in the fairy-tale promises of religion but are just wising up to the cruelties of life”. Leslie Felperin, Hollywood Reporter, 9/9/2021

“In a series of beautiful and devastated frames within frames, Ukranian director Valentyn Vasyanovych’s Reflection sets up a chain of shiveringly precise parallels – or rather, moral mirror images – between the life and psyche of a civilian and the actions and reactions of that same man in war. (…) And then, perhaps even harder on the soul, there’s the question of how to go back to the life before, once you come home from a war no one really comes home from. (…) Vasyanovych even leaves us on a snatched and strange note of hard-earned hope: that the resilience of familial love might prevail despite all that’s gone before. But then, maybe, like the bright, free empty sky toward which that bird thought it was flying, that’s just an illusion, simply the temporary reflection of a man, and a nation, still trapped in the middle of grief and guilt and all the other terrible symmetries of war”. Jessica Kiang, Variety, 7/9/2021

  • Hamburg Film Festival – Political Film Award Nominee (Germany)
  • Venice Film Festival – Best Film Nominee, Competition (Italy)
Cast & Credits
Roman Lutskiy, Nika Myslytska, Nadia Levchenko, Andriy Rymaruk, Ihor Shulha
Valentyn Vasyanovych
Valentyn Vasyanovych
Serhiy Stepanskiy
Arsenal Films, ForeFilms
New Europe Film Sales

Valentyn Vasyanovych is a director, producer and DOP. He was born in 1971 in Zhytomyr, Ukraine. He graduated from the Karpenko-Kary National University of Theatre, Film and TV as a cinematographer in 1995 and a documentary filmmaker in 2000. In 2012, he made his debut feature film Business as Usual. In 2014, Valentyn Vasyanovych produced and photographed The Tribe by Myroslav Slaboshpytskyi. In 2019, the feature anti-utopia film Atlantis won the Best Film Award in Orizzonti at the 76th Venice International Film Festival, and a large number of prizes and awards around the world. In 2021, his newest feature Reflection has been selected for Competition at 78 Venice International Film Festival.

  • 2021 - Reflection
  • 2019 – Atlantis
  • 2017 – Black Level
  • 2014 – The Tribe
  • 2014 – Crepuscule
  • 2013 – Credenza
  • 2012 – Business as Usual
  • 2004 – Against the Sun
  • 2001 – Old People
  • 1998 – Keepsake