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War for peace 

War for Peace
Regissør: Jevhen Titarenko
(Ukraina)

War for Peace shows strong footage from the line of fire in a conflict without winners.

In eastern Ukraine, the fierce conflict between Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian government forces has claimed more than 10 000 life after Moscow annexed the Ukrainian Crimean Peninsula in March 2014. Documentary filmmakers who report on the events in the region will never be able to come up with one common way of thinking. The footage is available (here raw front footage made by a Ukrainian military doctor who worked as a film director before the war – his according to the guerre Director is Russian for "film director"); the perspective – from the government or the rebels; tone – none of this can be neutral, and War for Peace is no exception.

Withdrawed from festival. The film was supposed to have a Russian premiere in December at the Artdocfest, a festival organized in Moscow by renowned Ukrainian-born documentary director Vitalij Manskij. But the screening of another movie about the Ukraine conflict, Beata Bubenets' Flight of a Bullet (a chronicle of combat operations by the controversial Aidar battalion – which was later disbanded following Amnesty International's accusations of war crimes), was interrupted after riots. After that it became War for Peace, which also includes interviews with members of the Aidar battalion, removed from the program, even though the producers had found a "safe territory" – the Czech Embassy in Moscow – to show the film there.

[...] none of this can be neutral, and War for Peace is no exception.

War for Peace (the film's Russian title Voina radi mira really means "War for the cause of peace") can be said to be a little less controversial than Flight of a Bullet (in Russian: Polyot puly), as it follows health professionals with a duty to save lives. However, this was not enough to calm the heated feelings of the Prorussian activists from Russia's nationalist group SERB (South-East Radical Block), which stormed into the October theater in early December, threw a coat over the projector and released health-threatening gas in the showroom.

Campaign. When the Czech Embassy declared that it could not guarantee the safety of the public during a screening of War and Peace, manufacturers pulled it and are now using the event as part of a broader marketing campaign.

"Russian officials and unknown, masked persons prevented the screening of a film about the Russian-Ukrainian war," the press release for the film states.

"The documentary War for Peace by the Ukrainian director Jevhen Titarenko (Dnipro, Ukraine) was actually to be presented at a special screening at Artdocfest International. . .

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Nick Holdsworth
Holdsworth is a writer, journalist and filmmaker.

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