‘The Distant Barking of Dogs’ is set in Eastern Ukraine on the frontline of the war. The film follows the life of 10-year-old Ukrainian boy Oleg throughout a year, witnessing the gradual erosion of his innocence beneath the pressures of war. The documentary had its world premier at the International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam (IDFA) 2017 and won the First Appearance Competition.
Oleg lives with his beloved grandmother, Alexandra, in the small village of Hnutove. Having no other place to go, Oleg and Alexandra stay and watch as others leave the village. Life becomes increasingly difficult with each passing day, and the war offers no end in sight. In this now half-deserted village where Oleg and Alexandra are the only true constants in each other’s lives, the film shows just how fragile, but crucial, close relationships are for survival.
Through Oleg’s perspective, the film examines what it means to grow up in a warzone. It portrays how a child’s universal struggle to discover what the world is about, grows interlaced with all the dangers and challenges that war presents.
After the film we talk with Floris Akkerman, traveling journalist and expert on the former Soviet Union. Floris spent several years working as a correspondent in that region before turning to freelance journalism.
What others thought
The film ‘The Distant Barking of Dogs’ won the IDFA Award for Best First Appearance (2017). According to Hollywood Reporter, the film ‘finds beauty and horror on the bleeding edge of war’, and is memorably distinctive from other films that aim to present war through the eyes of children.
About this program
We start the new season with two beautiful documentaries from IDFA 2017. This whole Sunday afternoon you can retreat at the Humanity House and let yourself be moved and surprised by ‘The Distant Barking of Dogs’, about the war in Eastern Ukraine seen through the eyes from 10-year-old Oleg and ‘The Judge‘, about the first female Sharia judge in the Middle East.
Do you want to see both films? Buy a passe-partout.
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