Ukraine War Art Documentary Looks for Balance

Ukraine War Art Documentary Looks for Balance

Featuring footage filmed on the ground by co-director Slava Leontyev, a Ukrainian artist and former soldier of the Ukrainian Special Forces, “Porcelain War,” which was co-directed by Brendan Bellomo, seeks to present the power of artists standing up against the violence of war through their work. Unfortunately, because much of the documentary’s narration leans heavily into propagandistic rhetoric and Leontyev’s footage is edited in such a way that it often resembles armed forces recruitment videos, it fails to actually strike the desired balance. 

Before Russia’s war of aggression on Ukraine, Leontyev lived in idyllic rural Crimea, where he and his wife Anya worked together on beautiful porcelain sculptures. He creates the shapes, like owls and snails and dragons, and she paints mosaic-like scenes of rural bliss, sometimes also featuring snails. After the invasion the duo, along with their painter friend Andrey Stefanov and their dog Frodo, moved to the city of Kharkiv, where they continued to make art while living in a cramped space among the rubble. 

Porcelain here serves as a metaphor for the endurance of the Ukrainian people. “Porcelain is fragile,” Leontyev says, “yet everlasting. It can withstand extreme heat and even after thousands of years of burial it can be restored.” The co-directors aim to tease their metaphor out by showcasing the artists’ continuing to live and create their beautiful works of art despite the chaos around…

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The post “Ukraine War Art Documentary Looks for Balance – IndieWire” by Christian Zilko was published on 01/20/2024 by