The Nest of the Turtledove: Leaving, then coming back
by Laura Nanchino
- Ukrainian director Taras Tkachenko uses his first film, which won the Award for Best Ukrainian Feature at Odessa, to tackle the subject of economic migration through a story about returning home
Almost 4,000,000 Ukrainians work abroad, according to the synopsis for The nest of the Turtledove [+see also:
film profile] by Ukrainian director Taras Tkachenko, which won the award for Best Feature in the Ukrainian competition of the 7th Odessa International Film Festival this weekend.
More specifically, the story centres around Daryna (Rimma Ziubina), who returns to the Ukraine after spending two years in Genoa working as a badante (‘maid’) for a rich and newly-divorced lawyer (Mauro Cipriani) and his bitter mother (Lina Bernardi). These years of illegal work have made it possible for Dmytro (Vitaliy Linetskiy), Daryna’s husband, to build a new house in their village, and for her teenage daughter to pursue her studies in the city. They have also changed Daryna to her core, as she returns to her homeland a city-dweller and independent woman. But she is also 10 weeks pregnant, by the signore she worked for in Italy, and must choose between having an abortion and keeping the baby, at the risk of destroying her family.
The film’s plot, which is built around flashbacks of Daryna’s life in Italy (how she got there with the help of a neighbour, difficulties in adapting to her new life, right up to her hasty departure) and her return home, along with the consequences of such economic migration on herself, her family and society, works thanks to its effective screenplay, penned by the director and Vasyl Melnyk, who tackles topics such as the loneliness experienced by immigrant workers, the dilemma of whether to return home, and the effect that money has on a couple’s relationship, with verve. A gamble that we see paid off all the more when we consider that notwithstanding the fact that the direction lacks levity and is mismatched at times, the production of The Nest of the Turtledove came up against a number of serious obstacles: the main Ukranian actor died during filming, meaning that part of the screenplay had to be re-written, and the crisis in the Ukraine and the devaluation of its currency slashed the budget by almost 30%.
A co-production between the Ukraine (Andriy Suyarko, Volodymyr Filippov and Alla Ovsyannikova for the Insightmedia Producing Center) and Italy (Fabio Canepa and Alessandro D’Alessandro for 4Rooms), with the support of the Ukrainian State Film Agency and the Genova-Liguria Film Commission, The Nest of the Turtledove will be distributed in Ukrainian theatres in November 2016, and should also receive a limited release in Italy. An extended and modified version of the film will be shown on Ukrainian television.
(Translated from French)