Review: How is Katia?
- Christina Tynkevych's debut feature follows an ambulance nurse who loses a child and tries to cope with her grief
At the beginning of Christina Tynkevych's debut feature How is Katia? [+see also:
interview: Christina Tynkevych
film profile], which just screened in Locarno's Cineasti del presente section, thirty-something Anya (Anastasia Karpenko) and her daughter Katia (Kateryna Kozlova) visit the construction site of their future apartment, for which they have a loan. Katia is dancing to pop music and asks her mother to buy her a four-poster bed. Anya and Katia are emotionally close. Katia, despite the fact that she is an ordinary teenager, does not even want to go on an excursion to Lviv with her class because she wants to save for an apartment; Anya replies that this is not necessary. Theirs seems to be the ideal relationship between mother and child, but grief strikes: Katia is hit by a car on her way to school. After lying for some time in the hospital in intensive care, the child dies, and Anya needs to cope with the horror of loss.
Christina Tynkevych's feature debut grew out of her short film which screened at the Odessa Film Festival a few years ago. According to the director, her profound interest in the topic of whether it is possible to survive grief after the death of an only child pushed her to make a longer film about it.
The 18-year-old daughter of a mayoral candidate is responsible for the fatal traffic accident in the film, a fact that brings the story as close to reality as possible. In Ukraine, such cases are very frequent, when corrupt upper circles want to avoid trial. However, this situation is an international one. Anya has to deal not only with corruption in the police and the courts, but also in the hospital where she herself works. She has to go through several circles of hell and find herself in a dead end when her sister betrays her. Her lover, who has his own family, doesn't want to help Anya either. She has to deal with the pain of loss alone, which leads her to a crushing disappointment in the finale.
In addition to being a film about corruption, How is Katia? is also a tender declaration of a mother's love for her child, as well as an attempt to understand whether release is possible after a conditional revenge. At the end, the film circles back to the very place where it started and although the heroine is no longer the same, Tynkevych gives her viewers a small ray of hope.
The visual style of the film, as well as the form of the narrative, is reminiscent of the Romanian New Wave and the director herself admits that she was influenced by Cristian Mungiu's film Graduation [+see also:
Q&A: Cristian Mungiu
interview: Cristian Mungiu
film profile]. It seems that a new Ukrainian wave of young directors is being born before our eyes, capable of adequately representing their country at international film festivals.
How is Katia? was produced by Evos Film.
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