Film Archive


Rodnye (Close Relations)

Documentary Film
112 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Simone Baumann, Guntis Trekteris, Natalya Manskaya, Marianna Kaat
Vitaly Mansky
Harmo Kallaste
Aleksandra Ivanova
Pēteris Ķimelis, Gunta Ikere
Vitaly Mansky
Harmo Kallaste
Over the past few years, Vitaly Mansky’s own voice has found its way into his films again and again. He is a laconic commentator, deliberately factual and yet not without emotions. He wishes he had never been forced to make this film. This is how “Rodnye (Close Relations)” begins, his report of the eventful year between May 2014 and May 2015. For the Ukraine – the subject of the film – it was the most important year since World War Two ended: an ongoing political earthquake that left no stone standing and – to stick to the metaphors of social seismography – opened deep rifts between the people. Mansky’s balancing act does not lead to just anybody but to his nearest relatives. His birthplace in Lviv is the starting point of a journey that has much to offer. Surprise: his mother speaks Ukrainian; his great uncle is still alive – in Donbass! But also disappointment: the aunts – one of them living in western Ukraine, the other on the Crimea – have stopped talking to each other. And shock: his cousin’s son was drafted, which in late 2014 carries a deeper meaning.

Mansky himself has now moved out of his home near the Kremlin and lives in emigration, like so many others. There’s no place for nostalgia in his still disintegrating “home country”, his film teaches us – an attempt to approach the issue by a man who’s deliberately growing more and more estranged.

Barbara Wurm

Nominated for MDR Film Prize