Witnessing Change: Ukrainian Cinema in a Time of Turmoil
Screening Dates
  • February 22 (Thursday) 7:00

An impressively shot drama marbled with welcome notes of absurdist comedy and wry humour … Part of the film’s appeal lies in its unsettling, dreamlike strangeness.”

Alissa Simon, Variety

Roman Bondarchuk’s first fiction feature offers a strange, surreal, and sometimes comical look at small-town life in the Kherson region. When his car breaks down on assignment, Lukas, part of an intergovernmental security detail, leaves his team and vehicle in search of assistance in the nearby town of Beryslav. Lukas’s return to a mysteriously vanished automobile and outfit initiates an extraordinary journey into the scorching sun of the Grey Zone,” a territory in between the Russian-occupied and Ukrainian-controlled areas where neither side has full control and peculiar customs abide. Drawing on his characteristically Ukrainian sense of the absurd, Bondarchuk’s portrayal of the Ukrainian steppe unfolds like a drunken dream, somewhere between reality and nightmare.

In Ukrainian and English with English subtitles

This closing-night screening of Volcano will include a panel discussion after the film with Svitlana Matviyenko and Alina Senchenko

Moderated by Florian Gassner


Svitlana Matviyenko is an associate professor of critical media analysis in the School of Communication at SFU, and associate director of the Digital Democracies Institute. Her research and teaching, informed by science and technology studies and history of science, are focused on information and cyberwar, media and environment, critical infrastructure studies, and postcolonial theory. Matviyenko’s current work on nuclear cultures and heritage investigates the practices of nuclear terror, weaponization of pollution, and technogenic catastrophes during the Russian war in Ukraine.

Alina Senchenko is a Vancouver-based Ukrainian artist whose practice explores the duality of immigrant identity, belonging, displacement, memory, diasporas, stereotypes, oral histories, and reflection on recent events in Ukraine and around the world.

Florian Gassner completed his doctoral studies at the UBC with a dissertation on German-Russian cultural history. He has taught at Mount Allison University, has held a postdoctoral fellowship at the New Europe College in Bucharest, and represented the German Academic Exchange Service at the Donetsk National University. He teaches the cultural history of Central and Eastern Europe with a focus on the Black Sea region.