, 75min, ukrOmeU
German-occupied Ukraine, a seemingly bucolic village far away from any front. Two young partisans hiding in the bushes impulsively kill a German officer when they see him seducing a local girl. Not used to any acts of resistance in this conflict-free rural setting, the Germans fly into a fury. They round up the villagers, vowing to kill everyone if the perpetrator is not identified. Still hiding in the bushes, the young partisans now face a fatal dilemma, a choice between their lives and the lives of the entire village. At the same time, this dilemma is the one and only narrative element of SOVIST. What surrounds it is a truly monumental storm of expressionistic imagery, avant-garde soundscapes, and berserk editing that jointly invoke the psychological turmoil dominating the souls of both suffering partisans. Denisenko, who also co-wrote the script and acted in the film, conceived SOVIST as an experiment and shot the film with his students as part of a directing and acting workshop at the Kiev film school. The result of their work was simply too alien, too darkly existentialist to be released on big screens, but it was also too beautiful to be discarded, so the film school used it for years in their cinematography courses as an example of a certain visual perfection. After perestroika, when SOVIST was finally released, it became an instant classic of Ukrainian cinema.