(2019)/The Earth Is Blue
As An Orange
(2019/all Film Movement DVDs)
C Sound: C/C+/C/C+ Extras: C- Films: C+/B-/B-/B-
Russian invasion of Ukraine is one of the most horrific events in
recent decades, the first conventional war of it particular kind
(read nation state war) like it in the nuclear era, Vladimir Putin
finally going all the way in his madness to avenge the fall of the
USSR/Soviet Union and take the most explicitly violent and gruesome
actions that are just getting worse and worse as we post. No telling
how bad by the time you read this, but a second nuclear plant is now
being toyed with and despite Ukraine fighting back in a stunning show
of resistance, the nightmare is far from over.
the Soviet Union fell in 1990, the many countries that made it up
resumed their original forms and identities, but this also meant the
return of some older conflicts picking up where they left off after
over seven decades. The conflict between neighboring Russia and
Ukraine has been slowly brewing with Russian Nationalist in both
countries stirring up any trouble they can. This includes murder and
other organized criminal activities that violate the Geneva
Conventions to no end.
Movement has issued four films at the same time on the same subject,
all recognized critically and awarded accordingly that are as timely
as ever. Though three are dramas, they are not totally fictitious
and offer insight into what led up to where world politics are on
this conflict, plus start to scratch the surface of how Ukraine has
suffered so badly in advance of current events.
(2014) is the first of two anthologies here, with four stories of how
horrific life over there has been, the title referring to few good
places to go without encountering something life threatening or
awful. Suspenseful and rightly disturbing, it might sometimes be
more so than expected and without enough exposition at times, though
that might be to get the audience to feel they are experiencing
things first hand. It never wallows in any of it, but can be
slightly longer than even I thought it should be at 105 minutes.
Still, well directed and acted.
(2019) has its tales in 13 sections (a bad omen indeed) but I think
because it has more material and people to deal with, it is a bit
more effective overall, running 122 minutes. That it has its
characters in the title locale, the city-bound nature of the
screenplay has its creepy side intentionally and how they are being
manipulated by modern media and much more. Like Kubrick's Full
that makes it more palpable and a little more successful than Roads,
but by only so much. The two make an effective pair to view back to
back, even having some dark humor at times.
Earth Is Blue As An Orange
(2020) is a documentary from the same location that follows a mother
and her four children, trying to deal with the uncertainty and
instability of everyday life in a war zone. The children are
interviewed and have some interesting and ironic observations without
realizing it and the high stress all encounter is just dehumanizing
leaves Valentyn Vasyanovych's Reflection
(2019) as the only full-length drama, has a surgeon from Ukraine
going to fight the Russians (pre-invasion) only to be captured by
them, then used to take care of and monitor the many captured Ukraine
soldiers that are being tortured, beaten, mutilated and worse. It
gets ugly, but when he gets freed, he is not the same. A character
study as relevant as when it was first released, it also effectively
communicates the situation without holding back.
all, these four releases have suddenly become more than curios, but
films more people should have seen worldwide before the
invasion, though human's inhumanity to its own is the age-old story
that seems to be back with a vengeance. I was glad to see these
films, remembering a man I never met who had a sign that stated
'Ukraine Yes' in the window of his business. I had heard about some
of the troubles, but did not know the 'breadbasket of the world' was
in this much trouble. He died before I could ask him more, not
living to see Putin's atrocities now. But he knew what could happen
and the horrors here and many more over the last few decades were
more well known and turns out the spirit of his sign was more
representative of the pride and strong identity of Ukraine than even
I could have imagined.
a good thing!
anamorphically enhanced image on all four DVDs are a little soft,
with all in 2.35 X 1 framing, save Orange in 1.85 X 1. Color
is drained a bit in Roads and a bit more pronounced in Donbass
and Reflection, with Orange in between the two. These
would all benefit from HD releases with lossless sound and have solid
composition, but sometimes, they can be trying to watch in this
format. All four also offer lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, with
Donbass and Reflection (uncredited) adding lossy Dolby
Digital 5.1 options. I liked the 2.0 Stereo on Reflection a
bit better than the 5.1 upgrade, and it ties Donbass as the
best-sounding of the four releases here. Orange does not
suffer from much location audio issues.
are the same four Original Theatrical Trailers for these four films
on each disc, but that is all.