Ukrainian Actress Presents Antiwar Cinematic Stunner at SEEfest

If it’s true, as General William Tecumseh Sherman reputedly observed during America’s Civil War, that “war is hell,” according to Kyiv-born Maryna Er Gorbach’s Klondike, the “hottest seat in hell” (to paraphrase Dante) seems reserved for those ensnared in the civil war in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region. One of the grimmest films I’ve ever seen, Klondike is so bleak in its realistic depiction of warfare that it almost makes two antiwar classics that won Best Picture and Best Director Oscars – Lewis Milestone’s1930 All Quiet on the Western Front and Oliver Stone’s 1986 Platoon – look like musical comedies in comparison.

As Oksana Cherkashyna, who stars as Irka, told the audience after a SEEfest screening at the Lumiere Cinema in Beverly Hills, Klondike dramatizes actual events that took place when the war between Russia and Ukraine really “started eight years ago” in 2014, with armed conflict in the Donbas, while what we’re witnessing now is “a full-scale invasion” by the Russian Federation of Ukraine.

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Ed Rampell was named after legendary CBS broadcaster Edward R. Murrow because of his TV exposes of Senator Joe McCarthy. Rampell majored in Cinema at Manhattan’s Hunter College and is an L.A.-based film historian/critic who co-organized the 2017 70th anniversary Blacklist remembrance at the Writers Guild theater in Beverly Hills and was a moderator at 2019’s “Blacklist Exiles in Mexico” filmfest and conference at the San Francisco Art Institute. Rampell co-presented “The Hollywood Ten at 75” film series at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures and is the author of Progressive Hollywood, A People’s Film History of the United States and co-author of The Hawaii Movie and Television Book.    

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