Saturday, June 10, 2023

Thoughts on Rule of Two Walls (2023) Tribeca 2023

Artists in Ukraine attempt to make art in the middle of a war.

This look at life in Ukraine during the war is one of the best films I've seen on the conflict. While the film can feel a bit scattershot at times, it's rawer and realer than any film I've come across before. This is life as it is being lived and we are better for it.

The power of the film comes from several different places. The first is the fact that the film never looks away. this is the first film where we really see the destruction. We see the dead. The cost of the war is not an abstraction, rather it is real and right in front of us.  The camera never waivers. 

It also is wonderful that the film is presented by everyone on screen and behind it. We hear the voices of the filmmakers on all levels. They speak their truth to us as well as covering the truth of the artists whose work we are seeing. We are brought in to what it took to make this film including hearing the hold music of a credit card company.

Wonderfully there is real life in this film. There are moments scattered all through it, little bits, such as people singing in a stairway, others going to a concert, others picking up bodies, still others making art. While many of these moments are not connected to anything they add so much to what we are seeing because it shows us life as lived.

What I love about this film is it doesn't feel manufactured most other Ukraine documentaries feel as though they are stage managed, They are part of a propaganda machine to present a certain point of view, to show the Ukrainian people standing tall an muddling though a was that's largely in the distance. That isn't the case here. War is real, the bodies are real, people are living in ruins. The pieces are jagged and raw. Nothing is polished and so it feels lived in.

If you are like me, and you've seen a number of Ukraine film RULE OF TWO WALLS may end up being  a film that connects them all up. Many of the stories connect to tales told in other films. For example a sequence in Bucha connected to a film called WHEN SPRING CAME TO BUCHA which I watched a short time before. Other references connected to other films. My understanding of the war expanded.

This is an amazing film.

It's one of the best I've seen on the war and as such is recommended.

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