Ukrainian filmmaker says fighting ‘not like the movies’

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Oleg Sentsov has been connected the ‘first enactment of defence’ against the Russian penetration alongside subject units successful forests extracurricular Kyiv.

Published On 23 Mar 2022

Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov spent 5 years successful a Russian jailhouse for protesting against the seizure of Crimea, and present helium is connected the beforehand enactment warring for revenge.

Instead of being down a camera, the victor of the European Union’s Sakharov quality rights prize signed up arsenic a defence unpaid to combat backmost Moscow’s invasion.

“This warring is not however you ideate it from the movies,” said Sentsov, wearing khaki camouflage and a beard covering his antecedently clean-shaven face.

“Close contact, shooting from tiny arms, determination is not truthful overmuch of it. Most of the clip this is artillery and your task is to clasp the beforehand enactment successful the trenches, and not to dice from the shelling.”

The 45-year-old coughs repeatedly from an unwellness helium says came connected during a interruption of a fewer days from serving connected the beforehand against Russian forces successful freezing conditions.

Sentsov was forging a palmy vocation arsenic an autarkic movie manager erstwhile the Maidan protests successful 2014 and Russia’s consequent annexation of Crimea turned his beingness upside down.

He wrote and directed his archetypal movie Gamer successful 2011 connected a fund of conscionable $20,000, and astatine the clip of his apprehension successful 2014 was readying to marque different film, Rhino.

Convicted of planning arson attacks, helium was sent to a penal colony successful the Russian Arctic wherever helium staged a 145-day hunger strike, during which helium mislaid 30kg (66 pounds) earlier his merchandise successful 2019.

Russian ‘cruelty’

Leaning against a barricade, Sentsov said his agelong years down bars successful Russia had shown him that Moscow would not beryllium satisfied with conscionable taking Crimea.

“Some of my friends aft I was released from the captivity would say, ‘Oh, you’re truthful radical, hating Russians, they are not truthful bad,'” said the filmmaker.

“But present they recognize me, due to the fact that I spent 5 years there. I saw however they dainty Ukrainians, Europeans, with their imperial ambitions, their cruelty.”

The manager had nary hesitation joining up to combat erstwhile Russia’s President Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine connected February 24.

“From the archetypal days of war, I joined the Territorial Defence,” helium said, adding helium spent 2 weeks manning checkpoints connected the outskirts of the capital.

But helium was past pushed up to the “first enactment of defence” alongside subject units successful the forests successful an undisclosed determination extracurricular Kyiv.

Russia “made a Vietnam” for the Ukrainian forces with aggravated barrages of shelling and rocket occurrence that they resisted, said Sentsov.

But helium said with Moscow’s forces trying to propulsion connected with their stalled violative and encircle the Ukrainian capital, the warring volition get adjacent heavier.

“If the violative starts successful our direction, we volition beryllium the archetypal enactment to halt it and determination volition beryllium much adjacent combat,” helium said.

‘Simple soldier’

For now, the promising movie directing vocation that saw Sentsov’s movies screened astatine European movie festivals seems a agelong mode off.

“I americium not filming now. First of all, determination is nary time. Second of all, I don’t privation to,” helium said.

Ukrainian officials offered him enactment successful the property bureau “because of my celebrated name, but this was not my path. My way is 1 of a elemental soldier”.

Sentsov said helium received letters of support, including from the European Film Academy and Ukrainian filmmakers, “but present during the wartime it does not substance if you are a filmmaker oregon a autobus operator oregon a elemental idiosyncratic – we are each soldiers”.

But helium hopes to instrumentality to filmmaking 1 day. “I americium not definite what benignant of movie I volition make. I had already written galore scripts earlier the war. Perhaps I volition travel up with immoderate ideas here,” helium said.

For now, however, helium volition proceed to presumption the warfare done a firearm show alternatively of a camera viewfinder.

“I lived antithetic lives, my beingness changed, my enactment changed. Filmmaking is lone 1 portion of my life. Now my beingness is wherever I judge it to beryllium astir adjuvant to my country,” said Sentsov.

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