Movie Reviews

Close this search box.

The Lady (2011)

The Lady (2011)

In 2019, Valentyn Vasyanovych’s dystopian post-apocalyptic movie Atlantis was released in Ukraine. At the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival, it was shown in the Contemporary World Cinema section. The movie won Best Film in the Horizons category at the 76th Venice International Film Festival. It was chosen as the Ukrainian entry for the 93rd Academy Awards’ Best International Feature Film category. However, it did not receive a nomination. Veterans, volunteers, and soldiers played all of the parts instead of actors in this film. Andriy Rymaryk, a former military scout who experienced the War in Donbas and is presently employed by Come Back Alive, a Ukrainian NGO that supports Ukrainian soldiers through crowdfunding, plays one of the primary roles. Notably, volunteer Vasyl Antoniak and paramedic Liudmyla Bileka both appeared in the movie. Atlantis is a stunning and forward-thinking sci-fi drama, a prizewinner at the Venice Film Festival, and Ukraine’s official selection for the 2021 Academy Awards.


The narrative centers on Sergiy (Rymaryk), a PTSD-afflicted retired soldier who is attempting to survive in Eastern Ukraine. One year after the end of the war with Russia, in 2025, it happens. He works in a smelter with his friend and fellow veteran Ivan. Both men are shunned by their coworkers because they took part in the conflict that decimated the area. Sergiy and Ivan continue to train as if the conflict had not finished, donning combat gear and engaging in intense target shooting competitions. Ivan drowns himself in a smelting pot, and soon after, the factory is closed because economic liberalization makes it unprofitable. Then Sergiy gets a new job driving a water delivery truck to places where the war’s pollution has rendered the local water supplies unusable.

He struggles to adjust to his new life until he meets Katya (Bileka), a former archaeologist who is now a volunteer with the Black Tulip Mission, a group that exhumes and identifies war dead. After saving a member of an environmental NGO from a mine, Sergiy is given a chance to leave his predicament, but it is hinted in the conclusion that he has chosen to stay with the Black Tulip Mission. Two stylized thermal camera shots, one showing the execution of a captured sharpshooter (who is subsequently unearthed in the film) and the other showing Sergiy and Katya cuddling at the movie’s climax, serve as the film’s bookends. The film Atlantis has a 6.8 out of 10 IMDb rating. It’s a very good European-style movie. Watch it and enjoy. Won’t find many movies of this quality,