LVIV, Ukraine — On a warm autumn day in western Ukraine, the wedding party of Oleksa Dovbush and his bride-to-be sing their way through a village en route to the church. But the frolicking stops when the carriage of the landowner collides into them. Duchess Yablonovska orders her guards to remove them, a fight ensues, and Dovbush is captured. The scene is the turning point of a new biopic, titled Dovbush, about a real-life 18th-century Robin Hood of sorts who, after escaping imprisonment, led an outlaw group that robbed rich landowners in the bucolic Carpathian Mountains to give to poor Ukrainian villagers until his death at the hands of his lover’s husband. With a top Ukrainian director at the helm, a budget of more than $3 million (roughly $2.3 million of which comes from the Ukrainian state), and a story about fighting a repressive overlord, the film epitomizes the surprising rise of Ukraine’s film industry. For decades, Ukraine’s modest film industry has been overshadowed by that of neighboring Russia — and Russian films still garner much more attention, acclaim, and money. But in the years since a corrupt, eastward-looking government was toppled in 2014, Ukrainian cinema is enjoying a moment… Read full this story
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