Oles Sanin, director (122 min., 2014). In Ukrainian, Russian, and English with English subtitles.
Throughout the ages, popular national culture was sustained in Ukraine by blind minstrels, called kobzars, who traveled from village to village performing ancient folk songs and epic ballads, preserving the memory of a free and heroic past. In the 1930s Stalin destroyed much that would remind Ukrainians of their freedom and their own country. Hundreds of kobzars were arrested and disappeared without a trace. The film is set in the early 30s Soviet Ukraine, during the time of industrialization, collectivization, and the great famine. Michael Shamrock, an American communist who came to Ukraine to build a factory, is killed. His young son, Peter, is saved from persecution through a miracle. The "miracle" is a kobzar, Ivan Kocherga, and the boy becomes his guide.
The film is Ukraine’s entry in the 2015 Oscar competition and is free and open to the public. Director Oles Sanin and lead actor Anton Sviatoslav Green will be at the screening.
Sponsors: U-M’s Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies; Ukrainian Future Credit Union