UA, FR

2024

90 min,

52 min

In development

Basement 341

Directing: Roman Blazhan

Synopsis

On the 3rd of March, 2022 Russian troops entered the tiny village of Yahidne in Northern Ukraine. On the next day, armed with rifles, they forcibly extracted local residents from their dwellings and convoyed them to the school. Russians stuffed all 341 residents of Yahidne, including 77 children, into the school basement, roughly 160 m2, where the people spent the next 26 days. Now, almost a year has passed since those events. From the first sight, the village is coming back to life. But it is no longer normal any more. While some residents are trying to forget the traumatic experience, there are people in the village who again and again come back to the memories to try and work out what happened.
Olha (51) has kept a diary during the captivity and now is working to turn it into a documentary novel. This text is valuable not only for being a firsthand account, but also a technical day-by-day fixation of the time she spent in the basement. While personal stories of local residents lose small details and become a collective story, the diary is a log of immediate memory with details in chronological order. Anna (36) and Mikhaili (41) are trying to heal the traumas and find the right answers for the questions about events for their kids; son Andrii (14) and daughter Anna (9). Ivan (63) was a technical caretaker at the school who was responsible for the basement. Now, Ivan is a team leader of local activists who want to preserve the basement itself, and people's memories, by the development of the museum.
By following these people and their families in daily life we see how ordinary people are collecting their personal immediate memories piece by piece. That's how they are writing the history of this war and how Yahidne becomes a laboratory of memory for the world where victors don’t have a monopoly to write the history any more.
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