I started shooting the first shots in the spring of 2022 in the city of Bucha, where I returned after the retreat of the Russian troops. This film tells about the military reality of the Kyiv and Kharkov regions, about the scale of Russia’s war crimes. First of all, the film «Harvest» is a historical source, an audiovisual document containing information about the era and historical context. Documenting the surrounding reality, I tried to capture and reflect the reality here and now.
The film does not have a voice-over, staged shots, but there is a dialogue with time. I spent my childhood in the USSR, I grew up on films about the war focused on creating a “heroic image” of the victorious people. But war leaves behind not winners, but survivors.
As an opponent, I use footage from the film poem «The Battle for Our Soviet Ukraine» — created by the Ukrainian film director Dovzhenko in 1943. The film covers the tragic period of World War II, the days of the occupation of Ukraine. «The Battle for Our Soviet Ukraine» was created in the light of fires, on the ruins of liberated Ukrainian villages. The film shows the heroic struggle for liberation, great sacrifices and victories. The fate of ordinary people living in villages, haymaking on a collective farm, harvesting wheat and fruits are described.
The main theme of the films of that time was the heroism and courage of the people during the war. One of the most common wartime plots is harvesting, the image of a woman who replaced a man who had gone to the front at the helm of a combine. The most famous posters of this theme are “Harvest!” Propaganda raised the morale of the Soviet people.
The experience of World War II was traumatic. In the post-Soviet countries, the perception and reflection of the war was constantly changing. Over the years, the memory of the war became more and more mythologized. Thus, the past was not reproduced, but each time it was reconstructed based on the needs of the present. After the collapse of the USSR, along with the political transformation in Russia, the events of the Second World War became the main source of ideological and political inspiration. Russia built them into today’s aggressive perception of reality by most Russians, moreover, it is the «history of the Victory» that forms this perception, expressed in the words «we can repeat it.»