Please join the Ukrainian Film Club of Columbia University for a screening of the film Love Me (2013) as part of the Fall 2018 Olena Yershova Retrospective Film Series at Columbia. Professor Yuri Shevchuk will introduce the film and moderate the discussion.
Love Me is directed by Maryna Er Horbach (Ukraine) and Mehmed Bahadir Er (Turkey). A Turkish man travels to Kyiv for his bachelor party before he is to be wed in a marriage arranged by his parents. He meets a Ukrainian woman and finds in her the true love he had all but given up on. This international co-production opens Columbia University's first-of-its-kind retrospective of Ukrainian producer Olena Yershova.
The second feature of the talented young directorial duo Maryna Er Gorbach and Mehmet Bahadir Er, Love Me is an unusual romance combining comedy and drama in an intricate and touching style.
Sasha, a Ukrainian woman, decides to end a long-term relationship with a married lover from Moscow. Fighting her fear of loneliness, she brings home a foreigner with the intention of becoming pregnant and never seeing him again. Cemal is a young Turkish man, betrothed by his family to a girl he’s never seen. Despite his aspirations of true love, he has no choice but to oblige tradition.
Dragged by his uncle and cousin in the middle of winter to Ukraine for his bachelor party, Cemal finds himself in the night clubs of Kyiv. His outlook seems to improve when he stumbles upon the beautiful Sasha, an independent and confident woman with an agenda of her own. Sasha is surprised when their relationship seems like something more than previous casual liasons: despite the language barrier the chemistry between them is undeniable. Even after this deep emotional experience, she still faces a dilemma: to learn to love or to keep running away from herself.
Is there any chance for true love?
Sprinkled with hilarious cultural clashes and the endearing kindness of strangers, this idiosyncratic "dramedy" will warm the hearts in a most unexpected way.
About the Olena Yershova Retrospective Film Series
Since its inception fourteen years ago, the Ukrainian Film Club of Columbia University has primarily focused on the work of directors and actors. Now, for the first time, we would like to take a closer look at producers, the profession that is relatively new and in the process of defining itself in Ukraine’s contemporary film industry. After all, the old Soviet cinema from whose shadow the post-Soviet Ukrainian film is slowly emerging did not have film producers in the customary sense. Choosing from a dozen possible candidates this semester we showcase Olena Yershova. She comes from a celebrated filmmaking family; her father Kostiantyn Yershov wrote and directed eight films and is primarily celebrated for his 1967 screen adaptation of the Mykola Hohol (Nikolai Gogol) story Viy, arguably the only horror film allowed to be made in the Soviet Union.
Olena Yershova is a successful film producer in her own right with an impressive portfolio of more than ten feature films which garnered over a hundred awards worldwide. Her filmography includes My Joy (main competition at Cannes 2010), Frost (Directors’ Fortnight - Cannes 2017), Falling (Prix Du Public Jeanne Moreau at Premiers Plans, France, 2018), Gogita’s New Life (main competition at IDFA 2016), Motherland (Venice Critics’ Week 2015, Best Script and UNESCO Award nomination at the Asian Pacific Screen Awards 2015) and Blind Dates (Toronto IFF, Tokyo IFF, Palm Springs IFF, Berlinale - Forum, 2014). She has successfully worked not only with Ukrainian, but also with Georgian and Turkish directors.
The forthcoming retrospective will showcase four feature films produced by Olena Yershova in cooperation with four different directors, three of them representing the new generation of Ukrainian filmmakers. Each film brings into focus an important aspect of the current Ukrainian reality.
Producer Olena Yershova will be present at the screenings of Frost and Volcano to discuss her work and the current state of the Ukrainian film industry. All films will be shown with English subtitles. The retrospective is scheduled to take place at Columbia’s Deutsches Haus, 420 West 116th Street, New York, N.Y.
Love Me (2013), directed by Maryna Er Horbach, will open the retrospective at Columbia. It is a romance between a Turkish man and a Ukrainian woman that unexpectedly grows out of what began as just another sordid case of sex tourism.
Frost, 2017, directed by Sharunas Bartas of Lithuania, is an unheroic road story of discovery when a selfless Lithuanian couple drives a truck loaded with humanitarian aid for Ukrainians fighting off Russian aggression in the Donbas. They quickly find themselves in the middle of a minefield that is today’s Ukraine, where there is no telling who is a friend and who a foe. Click here to view the trailer.
Vulcano (2018), directed by Roman Bondarchuk, is a tongue-in-cheek take on the Southern Ukrainian steppe and its denizens, fascinating, weird, unpredictable, and endearing at the same time. This is the land where operation Russia Spring found its ignominious end in 2014. The film contains some truly beautiful cinematography that is as memorable as it is breathtaking. Click here to view the trailer.
Falling (2017) is directed by Maryna Stepanska of Ukraine. The drama is a psychological exploration of two young people deeply traumatized by life and looking for redemption and a new beginning, who find love in the most unlikely of places.