If it’s true, as General William Tecumseh Sherman reputedly observed during America’s Civil War, that “war is hell,” according to Kyiv-born Maryna Er Gorbach’s Klondike, the “hottest seat in hell” (to paraphrase Dante) seems reserved for those ensnared in the civil war in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region. One of the grimmest films I’ve ever seen, Klondike is so bleak in its realistic depiction of warfare that it almost makes two antiwar classics that won Best Picture and Best Director Oscars – Lewis Milestone’s1930 All Quiet on the Western Front and Oliver Stone’s 1986 Platoon – look like musical comedies in comparison.
As Oksana Cherkashyna, who stars as Irka, told the audience after a SEEfest screening at the Lumiere Cinema in Beverly Hills, Klondike dramatizes actual events that took place when the war between Russia and Ukraine really “started eight years ago” in 2014, with armed conflict in the Donbas, while what we’re witnessing now is “a full-scale invasion” by the Russian Federation of Ukraine.
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This content originally appeared on CounterPunch.org and was authored by Ed Rampell.