70 min

Post production

A Picture to Remember

Foto na pam'yat

Directing: Olga Chernykh


Originally from Donetsk – an industrial city in eastern Ukraine – the family was uprooted in 2014 when the Russian war against Ukraine first commenced. By 2022, the same enemy once again began knocking on the door of their new home – which was now in Kyiv – and once again, destroyed everything that the family had worked so hard to rebuild. Thrown into the limbo of exile, the director (she is also the narrator of the film) dives into a kaleidoscope of memories and chronicles both her personal and collective familial search for something to hold on to amid these turbulent times.
The story is told in first person. The voice of the author leads the viewers through decades of family archives as well as the events of the last 8 years of the war. Set against the backdrop of the director’s life, we meet her mother, Olena – the head of the pathology department in Kyiv. Olena is someone who deals with death on a daily basis. She thus embodies a refreshingly healthy approach towards it. She is a very empathetic and kind person in the workplace while simultaneously being very strong in dealing with her own trauma and internal problems. For more than twenty years, she has fought her private war within herself – against her own rare and incurable disease.
Observing her mother's work and rethinking the events of the past, the narrator finds a way to overcome her pain with the help of memory. Memory – which she sees as a treasure of the sort that cannot be destroyed or taken away – provides her with the strength to move forward. The grandmother remains trapped back in the occupied and besieged city of Donetsk and so provides an unbroken family link to the city and to their regional and historical patrimony.
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