Russia's war against Ukraine began in 2014. Since then, Ukrainian and foreign filmmakers have made dozens of films about the events in eastern Ukraine. I have collected 10 movies about the Russo-Ukrainian war. Watching these films will give you a complete picture of what is happening now in Ukraine and the specifics of people and military life during the 8 years. Not all of them have English voiceovers, but most have English subtitles.
IMDb rating: 8.6
It is a documentary film about the defenders of Donetsk airport. One of the directors says that he was looking for a battalion for the film, where there is no ostentation but mutual respect. He found the Right Sector Volunteer Ukrainian Corps. It doesn’t subordinate to the Ministry of Internal Affairs or the Ministry of Defense.
Two directors worked on the film, each filming in his style. Leonid Kanter shot the airport itself. According to him, it was important not to turn off the camera at critical moments. Ivan Zasniy took professional shots in Peski, a village in Chernihiv Oblast.
Unfortunately, the soldiers filmed are no longer alive.
IMDb rating: 8.2
It is a documentary film about six heroines who participated in the fighting in eastern Ukraine. The project "Invisible Battalion" began as a study about women in war. Then they made a calendar with their photos. The third part of the project was the Invisible Battalion film about the Russo-Ukrainian war.
This movie aimed to show the role of women in the war, break gender stereotypes, and make it easier for them to build a career in the security forces. This film is about powerful women who hold the sky on their shoulders. The film was also meant to remind the world that Ukraine was at war with Russia, not a civil war.
IMDb Rating: 7.8
This is a documentary film about the Russo-Ukrainian war. A Ukrainian fighter with the call sign "Lavr" survived in the Ilovaysk cauldron but lost his closest brothers-in-law. His girlfriend Anastasia Starozhitskaya (one of the film directors) came to him immediately after the battle. The couple tries to build their lives together. They discuss their emotions during the war and again go to the front.
The film was nominated for two awards from Odessa International Film Festival and Docudays UA International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival.
IMDb Rating: 7.6
This is a story about ten-year-old Oleg, who lives in eastern Ukraine, not far from the war zone. Sometimes the shooting and rocket attacks can be heard from afar, sometimes too close. Many have already left the village, but his grandmother has no intention of doing so. She has been taking care of Oleg since his mother died.
He spends a lot of time together with his cousins Yarik and Kostya. They discuss events and raise philosophical topics. For example, what a real man should be.
The film received 19 awards. Among them are awards of the Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival.
IMDb Rating: 7.4
It is an artistic movie about the Russo-Ukrainian war. A volunteer with the call sign "High Roller," the son of influential parents, has secretly escaped to war. In September 2014, he and six military personnel arrived on duty at the shattered Donetsk airport named after Sergei Prokofiev. Throughout the film, "High Roller" tries to understand his role in this war and the war itself.
Each of the characters in the film is a collective image, copied from real cyborgs. A consultant during the shooting was Kyrylo Nedrya with the call sign "Docent". He participated in defense of Donetsk airport.
Cyborgs: Heroes Never Die won six "Golden Dziga" awards from the Ukrainian Film Academy Awards, which are given for professional achievements in developing Ukrainian cinematography. The Ukrainian Film Critics Award gave another "Kinokolo" award.
IMDb Rating: 7.4
It is an artistic film about the war on Donbas. A Ukrainian family lives in a village in the Donbas. Irka, the film's main character, refuses to leave, even when the war starts. As time passes, a Malaysian Boeing crashes near the village.
This film shows the real life of people that stayed in Donbas before the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. It shows that shelling is becoming commonplace for people, and it doesn't take much to be happy.
The film won five awards, including the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury, an award for both the film's artistic quality and its religious, social, and humanistic themes.
IMDb Rating: 7,4
This is a documentary film about life on Donbas. Anna lives in the Donbas, where the war is in its sixth year. She is raising four children on her own. Although shelling has become an everyday occurrence for the family, women and children know how to enjoy life. They have hobbies, they play the piano and make a film about their lives.
The film has won 19 Ukrainian and international awards. Among them is the award of the Docudays UA International Documentary Human Rights Film Festival.
The film was also included in the list of "100 best films in the history of Ukrainian cinema".
IMDb Rating: 6.8
This film consists of 5 novellas about residents of Donbas and the military on different sides of the line of separation. It is a film about love, faith, hate, and violation of personal boundaries - against the background of the violation of the borders of Ukraine.
The film's director and screenwriter, Natalka Vorozhbyt, used the stories of people she collected while working on "Cyborgs: Heroes Never Die." She first wrote the play and then turned it into a feature film.
The film won ten awards, including the "Golden Dziga" awards from the Ukrainian Film Academy Awards.
IMDb rating: 6.8
This is an artistic film about the end of the Russo-Ukrainian war. The year is 2025. One year ago, Ukraine won the war with Russia and liberated Donbas. According to the plot, this territory is no longer livable, and it seems that it can no longer be restored.
Not professional actors played in the film, but veterans of the ATO (anti-terrorist operation), JFO (joint forces operation), and volunteers. The film was shot in Mariupol in 2018.
The film won at the Venice Film Festival in the program "Horizons" and was included in the rating "100 best films in the history of Ukrainian cinema".
IMDb Rating: 6.5
It is an artistic movie about the Russian occupation of Crimea. Mykhailo comes from a village in the Chernihiv region. He is a sailor on the Ukrainian anti-mine ship U311 "Cherkasy". He returns home in the summer and persuades his friend Lev to join the service.
In the winter of 2014, while the Revolution of Dignity is underway in Kyiv, the U311 "Cherkasy" is sent for training in Bulgarian waters. By the time the ship returns home, Russia has already invaded Crimea.
The film won two awards, including a prize from the Ukrainian Film Academy.
This is my list of top 10 movies about the Russo-Ukrainian war. I added to this list both documentary and artistic films for you to better understand the current situation. I recommend you to start with artistic movies. They are great.
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