80 min

In production

Keepers of the Ruins

Хранителі руїн

Directing: Mariia Shevchenko


Kharkiv is located on the border with Russia. Missiles reach the city in 30–40 seconds. More than 1 million Kharkovians left for safer places. Since May 2022, we have been watching those Kharkovians who make hopes out of ruins and give the war in the city a new meaning.
Sashko (47) unintentionally becomes a vlogger who uses his phone to film his district and apartments of those who have left. Sashko's own home turned into ruins. His cat burned in the fire. He adopts a new cat and starts from scratch.
Gamlet (35) is a street artist. Urban space is his personal gallery. In his simple, black-and-white works, he reflects the war. An unexploded rocket on the roof turns into a pencil, and a bust of Linin helps raise funds in support of the Ukrainian military. Gamlet's inscriptions on the walls and missile debris are now in Ukrainian.
Kharkiv has its daily rhythm “shelling- cleaning-reconstruction”. We breathe in and see a father mourning his son killed by a missile. We see a music teacher who can't teach an online lesson because notes merge with the air raid sound.
We breathe out and observe rescuers clearing debris, and utility workers planting flowers in flowerbeds. People return from abroad and gradually fill a familiar yet slightly changed city. Streets named after Russian figures are being renamed. In the morning, children go to school in underground metro stations so they can continue their studying during air alarms.
The poetry of Natalka Marynchak is a reflection of the city's new life. Natalka is a volunteer and morning show host of the popular Kharkiv radio. Natalka's performance of her poems merge with the sound of an unbending front-line city that demonstrates heroic resistance to the enemy.
And here you are waking up in one of the most beautiful cities
Without an alarm
Without the first ray of the sun
Without tenderness
You wake up
The sun has not yet risen
But everyone, including you, reaches
for it
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