Adolescence is a time of life in which sensations and emotions meet and diverge in a cyclical and constant game. At the same time, it is a shared territory in which those who suffer through it, support one another. Masha, Yana, and Senia, characters played by young non-actors, are in their final year of school in the Ukraine and are preparing, along with their classmates, to take the dreaded step into adulthood. The trio of friends navigate between their days between classes, confessions, late-night visits, parties, excesses, and games in the park, while the adult world is shown through inevitably uncomfortable and complex bonds, like that of Sasha and his suffocating mother, or the warmth and security of the silent embrace between Masha and her mom. “How does your body feel when you are in love?” asks Kateryna Gornostai, the film’s director, to the introverted Masha. “Really bad, horrible!” she replies in one of several interview fragments that integrate the film. With this gesture, which undoubtedly stems from her training as a documentary filmmaker, the director challenges the boundary between documentary and fiction and presents her protagonists´ critical concerns – love, the future, their fears, their desires – in a fresh way. Stop-Zemlia, the Ukrainian director’s fiction feature debut, delicately and authentically portrays the unspeakable parts of that fragile and stormy time in which everything and nothing happens simultaneously.
Review by: Laura Alderete
Esse Production House Kyiv, Ukraine email@example.com essehouse.com/
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Nikon Romanchenko, Kateryna Gornostai
Maria Fedorchenko, Arsenii Markov, Yana Isaienko, Oleksandr Ivanov