Since Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite made history earlier this year for winning Oscars for both Best International Feature Film and Best Picture, the door is open for more international movies to potentially achieve that same level of recognition. Next year’s Academy Awards ceremony (which has been delayed due to the pandemic) won’t air until April, but here’s a look at Atlantis, a post-apocalyptic dystopian romance that will be the official entry from the country of Ukraine.
I will not pretend to be an expert on geopolitics, but it’s safe to say that the relationship between Ukraine and Russia has become extremely fraught since Russia annexed the Ukrainian territory of Crimea back in 2014. This movie evidently imagines a future in which Ukraine was able to defeat Russia in a war – but at a significant cost. Part of the country has become uninhabitable thanks to fallout from the conflict, and the story follows two people who are able to find romance with each other amid this bleak backdrop.
I am not personally familiar with the filmography of director Valentyn Vasyanovych, but I’m struck by his visual juxtaposition between the slate grays and dreary colors of the outside world and the deep oranges, reds, and blues that are on display inside the factories, which almost look like something out of James Cameron’s Terminator 2. I’m also curious about the Big Brother/1984 imagery here and whether it will have anything new to add in that regard, or if it will just be another in a long line of films that have been utilizing Orwellian imagery for decades.
Here is the movie’s official synopsis:
Eastern Ukraine, 2025. A desert unsuitable for human habitation. Water is a dear commodity brought by trucks. A Wall is being build-up on the border. Sergiy, a former soldier, is having trouble adapting to his new reality. He meets Katya while on the Black Tulip mission dedicated to exhuming war corpses. Together, they try to return to some sort of normal life in which they are also allowed to fall in love again.
Atlantis is set to make its U.S. debut at New York City’s Metrograph Theatre on January 22, 2021, and plans to expand wider in the following weeks. As usual, we do not recommend spending any time in a movie theater while the pandemic is still raging, but this one looks interesting enough to bookmark for when things are a bit safer out there.
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