1 Park Place, Athens, Ohio 45701

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Ukrainian Film Night: Reflecting on History, Culture, and Possible Future.


Carol of the Bells, Ukrainian-Polish film, directed by Olesya Morgunets-Isaenko, 2021

February 13th, 2024, Baker Theater (3rd floor), 5:30-8:00 pm.


In remembrance of two years since Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine, you are cordially invited to attend a free screening of Ukrainian-Polish historic drama Carol of the Bells, directed by Olesya Morguntes-Isaenko (2021). The director has generously shared the film with the Ohio University and Athens communities, aiming to deepen our understanding of Ukraine’s complex and rich culture, as well as its resilient people. The trailer for the film is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRA7_uOQSB4&t=2s


The event will commence with the address from Athens Mayor Steve Patterson, followed by remarks by Dr. Gillian Ice, the Interim Associate Provost for Global Affairs at Ohio University.  Local Ukrainian community members and representatives from the student organization Bobcats for Ukraine will introduce the film and remain available for the Q&A session following the screening. Please, contact Tetyana Dovbnya at dovbnya@ohio.edu if you have any questions about the event.


Synopsis: The film poignantly interweaves history, music, and personal and national tragedy that come alive in a Ukrainian song “Shchedryk,” known in the West as “Carol of the Bells.” Set in the year 1939 in Stanislaviv, a city in western Ukraine, the film depicts the lives of three families - Ukrainian, Jewish, and Polish – residing as neighbors in the same dwelling. The onset of war abruptly shatters their once harmonious and joyful environment. Both the Soviet regime and the Nazi occupation inflict loss and death impacting the fates of all families equally. Sacrificing their lives, the Ukrainian family manages to save their neighbors’ children and their own daughter. Across time and space, these children carry with them their shared memory of tragedy alongside the beloved song. Transcending the borders, “Shchedryk” also becomes the children’s - and universal - unfailing symbol of hope and kindness. Echoing one of the main character’s sentiment, “The war cannot last forever.”             

Written by Tetyana Dovbnya



Director Statement: “…our film deals with a topical theme of the relationship between Ukrainians, Poles, and Jews. These are the nations that suffered the most from both the Nazis and the Soviets during World War II. This story is told from the perspective of the children who do not care about nationalities or cultural differences but appreciate friendship and loyalty.”

 - Olesya Morgunets-Isaenko

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