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A Film Starring Putin and Medvedchuk Claims to Explain Ukraine War. It Does Not
4 July, 2019
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This film screenshot from American director Oliver Stone's documentary "The Putin Interviews" shows Stone himself. SHOWTIME
Civil war, a crisis in Ukraine and Viktor Medvedchuk as the "leader of the opposition" – this is just a taste of what audiences can expect from a new film by the U.S director Oliver Stone.

"Revealing Ukraine" features Medvedchuk, as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin in lead roles. Television host and Medvedchuk's real-life wife, Oksana Marchenko, also appears in the film as the wife of the “opposition leader”.

The latest film from Stone on Ukraine, which was co-directed by a Ukrainian, Igor Lopatonok, will premier at the 65th Taormina Film Fest in Italy on July 4. Among the stars present at the festival this year are Nicole Kidman, Justin Hoffman, Stone, and, of course, the "new actors" Medvedchuk with his wife Marchenko.

"Revealing Ukraine" tells a story about the political crisis in Ukraine after the Maidan, about the war in the Donbas and about links to Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections.

The film is based on an interview with Medvedchuk and his wife. Even Putin himself, who is the godfather of Medvedchuk's daughter, puts his two cents in about the situation in Ukraine. 

What’s This Film About?

‘Revealing Ukraine’ is a peculiar continuation of the scandalous pro-Russian film “Ukraine on Fire,” also directed by the duo of Stone and Lopatonok. "Ukraine on Fire" was released in 2016.

The film provides a subjective look at the Revolution of Dignity, with the main “storytellers” being Putin, ousted ex-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and former Interior Minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko. The premiere “Ukraine on Fire” was also held at the Taormina Film Festival. The film broke the record for the most views on TV channel REN TV.

These same directors will now be bringing ‘Revealing Ukraine’ to the festival this year. 

“Why is there a civil war still raging on the East Ukraine, in Donbas, even though it has been contained and de-escalated? How is it possible that such a troubled third world country as present Ukraine successfully meddled in the presidential election of 2016 in such a superpower as the USA?,” a summary under the official film trailer on YouTube asks. 

Lopatonok continues to investigate the ongoing Ukrainian crisis following preceding “Ukraine on Fire”, the description continues. “In addition, it analyzes the current political backstage and its dangerous potential for the world.” 

The main speaker, it notes, is the“heavyweight Ukrainian politician” and “opposition leader” Viktor Medvedchuk, interviewed by Stone. Stone also sits down with Putin to question him about the crisis in Ukraine. 

Viktor Medvedchuk and his wife Oksana Marchenko at the opening of a film festival in the Italian city of Taormina, June 30, 2019. Photo: Taormina Film Fest

Who is Oliver Stone?

Stone is an American film director, screenwriter, producer of feature films and historical documentaries and the winner of three Oscars. The last one he received in 1989.

Stone produced two films about Ukraine, one about U.S. CIA agents and the other about dissident Yanukovych and the army of the Nazis – that appears to be how Stone sees Ukraine. When selecting experts and the cast, the film director did not seek a balance of opinions. His favorite character for the expert interview is Putin.

In 2017, he even released a series called “Putin.”

“On my way to Sicily for Taormina Festival, where I’m chairing the jury. Also showing for the first time our new documentary, 'Revealing Ukraine,' directed by Igor Lopatonok, which is a follow-up to “Ukraine on Fire,” Stone wrote on Facebook on June 28. 

Stone supports the Russian version of the events in Ukraine in 2014, and depicts the Revolution of Dignity as a “conspiracy of the CIA”.

Ukraine, according to Stone, was one of the main targets of the CIA from the very beginning of the Cold War. In an interview for the “Voskresnoye Vremya” program, which is broadcast on the Russian state-owned Channel One, he said that since 1949, the United States has been dropping “Ukrainian dissidents” with a parachute over Ukraine so that they act against the Soviet Union.

“Revealing Ukraine” is his second film about political and historical events in the country in collaboration with Lopatonok, who is a Ukrainian émigré. 

A scene from the propaganda documentary ‘Interview with Putin’ featuring U.S. film director Oliver Stone (C). Photo: Showtime

Who is Igor Lopatonok?

Lopatonok is a Ukrainian director who has lived in the U.S. since 2008. He became famous thanks to the provocative film ‘Ukraine on Fire’. Although perhaps ‘famous’ is putting it strongly. Both films are associated with Stone while Lopatonok largely remains in the shadow of his Oscar-winning colleague despite directing the films. 

“Inviting all my friends to confront angry Ukrainian radicals comment to our teaser on YouTube! Let's make them regret about everything bad that they did to Ukraine!” Lopatonok wrote on his Facebook page on June 30. 

That teaser has more than 57,000 views as of July 3, while the number of subscribers to Lopatonok's Youtube channel sits at just above 600 people.  

The Festival

"Revealing Ukraine" will premiere on July 4 at the 65th European International Film Festival Taormina. This festival may not be on the list of the most prestigious world film festivals, but it is one of the oldest.

The festival program focuses on a European audience, particularly on the local people of Italy. All films must have Italian subtitles. The main events are held in the Greek amphitheater in Taormina, which is 2,300 years old and can hold about three hundred participants.

/By Alina Sheremeta

/Translated by Natalie Vikhrov