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"Those 20 days in Mariupol, may the world help us" - Society and Rights

2024-02-24T19:52:53.592Z

Highlights: "20 Days in Mariupol" has been sweeping up awards, the latest being the Bafta last Sunday, and is a candidate (favourite) for the Oscar for best documentary. The author, Mstyslav Chernov, 39 years old, is a Ukrainian from Kharkiv, a top-class journalist from the AP news agency. In 2023 he won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service - Journalism for the Public Good for his exclusive coverage of the siege.


Director Chernov Pulitzer Prize winner at ANSA, the massacre stops (ANSA)


 "Why?"

it is the key question of every war, we feel helpless, overwhelmed, immobile but there is something that further terrifies everyone and in every latitude: seeing the images, being inside them, not just headlines from a newspaper or a news programme.

"20 Days in Mariupol" is heartbreaking to the point of being sustainable, the film which since its debut at Sundance has been sweeping up awards, the latest being the Bafta last Sunday, and is a candidate (favourite) for the Oscar for best documentary.

The author, Mstyslav Chernov, 39 years old, is a Ukrainian from Kharkiv, a top-class journalist from the AP news agency, who in 2023 won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service - Journalism for the Public Good for his exclusive coverage of the siege of Mariupol and the Breaking News Photography Award - for unfiltered images of the horrors of war in Ukraine.

The documentary was born from that experience, the scenario is that of the city that first experienced the siege of Russian troops in the invasion which sadly turns two years old tomorrow, February 24th, without any glimmer of a solution.

Mstyslav Chernov has just arrived in Los Angeles to participate in the Oscar campaign and ANSA interviewed him.


    It's a brutal film, emotionally strong, the tears don't stop, maybe too much?

"Every time I see it again I always cry too, there are no filters, that's what I found myself experiencing. We are used to war films, compelling TV series, and we are anesthetized by a certain type of images but that - he replies Chernov - which you see in 20 Days in Mariupol is real life, real heartbreak, and unfortunately you feel this difference."

The film, distributed widely in Italy by Cineagenzia in collaboration with Internazionale, tells the story of the first 20 days of the siege of the martyr city: Chernov and other AP reporters arrived not imagining what would happen and were trapped.


    Mariupol seems normal on February 24th, buses, cars pass, a coming and going from any other day then the infamous tanks with the Z entered, turning their cannons on every target without distinction between military and civilian.

The carnage is sadly known: images of lives torn apart, bodies torn to pieces, people in panic attacks, health workers crying because they are unable to save children, operations without anesthesia in inhumane conditions, brutality and desperation everywhere.


    Two years of Putin's invasion, what feelings do you have?

"Two years added to another eight, let's not forget, but February 24th is the saddest date. To survive we must continue to hope, continue to fight. People's support for Ukraine is something that comforts us and pushes us not to give up, will it be a utopia? I hope not, at the moment we remain in a catastrophe, with very bad news even in these days".


    Chercov, you are a war reporter, you have filmed Syria, Iraq, Gaza, are there any differences?

“Every story is different but the devastating impact of conflict on civilians is not, human tragedies are equally worthy of our attention and 20 Days in Mariupol brings this universal message 'let's be human again'.”


    The film is also important for underlining the role of the press, in a dark era in which no comforting signals are arriving from Navalny to Assange.

"There have been many deaths among journalists around the world, an escalation that reflects a trend to stifle the fundamental value of press freedom. Supporting free journalism, especially in totalitarian countries, is crucial."


    A year ago his wife Yulia and two children took to the stage at the Oscars for Daniel Roher's documentary on Navalny and today we mourn the death of Putin's opponent.

"It is urgent to continue talking about what is happening. The journey of 20 Days in Mariupol, every recognition it received, was unthinkable.


    It is an exceptional moment for documentaries, understanding is fundamental. For me, Oscar night is a to continue shouting for help for my Ukraine, I'm in Los Angeles but my heart is there in my country".

Are you already working on a new project?

"Yes and it will still be about Ukraine, a personal, identity story, I would like the children of my country to have hope again." 


Reproduction reserved © Copyright ANSA

Source: ansa

All life articles on 2024-02-24

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