Germany, Ukraine | 2022 | 85 min
Languages : Ukrainian, German
Subtitles : English, French
In the Ukrainian Carpathians, on the borders of Poland and Slovakia, lies an isolated village on the edge of the EU. In Stuzhytsya—literally, “cold place”—live Hannah, a farmer, Maria, a postal worker and Neyla, a biologist. Maksym Melnyk and his cameraman spent a year observing the ways in which they live (and survive) in this rural community, eventually becoming a part of it themselves.
We are in a remote corner of the Ukrainian Carpathian mountains, bordered by Poland and Slovakia. “A dead end!” moans farmer Hanna who, when they first meet, tells Maksym Melnyk to get lost. Wishing to film his native region, he has his heart set on this “cold place”, the literal translation of Stuzhytsya, the village in which he arrives with his camera operator in 2019, the year a certain Volodymyr Zelenskyy was elected President. Through observing horoscope readings, the distribution of pensions at the post office run by Maria, the adventures of Neyla – a biologist specialised in arthropods who tracks the excrements they use as shelter –, farm work and cars being blessed at the church, the film crew end up becoming part of the little community. And the blossoming friendship that forms between the director and the three female protagonists naturally leads Melnyk to film himself, whether he is offering a pig to Hannah or overindulging in the local schnapps. Three Women goes beyond rural micro-ethnography to become a tender comedy on the relationship between filmmaker and subject(s).
Bikes for Poroschkowo, 2019