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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Canadian film on Ukrainian and multicultural theme

A new Canadian feature film, Acts of Imagination, recently premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. Andrij Makuch, who took it in, reviews it here:

Katya and Jaroslaw (Slawko) are relatively recent Ukrainian immigrants living in Vancouver’s east end. The area is gritty, but slowly gentrifying. When the warehouse in which Slawko works is sold for a condo development, he loses his job. ... Katya, meanwhile, is plagued by the memories of the loss of her “nationalist” parents. ...

Acts of Imagination is a respectably well-done production. Though, like most Canadian films, it is not likely to be noticed by most of the world. One thing that does set it apart is that it is the first Canadian feature film in a very long time to have Ukrainian protagonists, rendering it of some interest to a Ukrainian-Canadian audience. This is all the more true since the “Ukrainian” aspect of the leads’ lives is significant: these are not incidental Ukrainians.

Notwithstanding its generally sympathetic treatment of the Ukrainian immigrant experience, the film has some difficulties in dealing with this subject. The most obvious is the matter of accents ...

Oddly, the film portrays the protagonists as decidedly working-class folk. ... This is out of the reality of most immigrants coming to Canada from Ukraine today. While they may end up working in low-end jobs for a certain period, they tend to be highly qualified and well educated. The film hits a wrong note by not bringing this up at least nominally.

All the same, the “old-country” aspect is a real factor in Acts of Imagination. The film incorporates Ukrainian music and themes, and is an interesting and legitimate effort that is worth checking out.

Acts of Imagination ... still awaits a Canadian distribution arrangement. It ... is scheduled to be screened at the film festival in Vancouver (October 2 and 12) and Edmonton (October 5).

More information on the film is available here.

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