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PAMFIR (2022, UKR) – 8/10

Ukrainian filmmaker of the younger generation Dmytro Sukholitskyi – Sobchuk presented his debut feature film at Cannes, and “Pamfir” is a dark crime drama that takes place on the border of Ukraine and Romania. After a long period of working abroad, Leonid aka Pamfir or the Rock (Oleksandr Jatsenjuk) returned to a village somewhere in Transcarpathia. He arrived just before the traditional carnival, and Pamfir is a forty-year-old man with a somewhat impetuous nature and a criminal past who has now decided to take the right path. He decided to stay in the village with his teenage son Nazar and his wife Olena (Jelena Hohatkina), look for a job, and in the meantime dig wells like his grandfather and father did, but fate will play its part so that he will have to go down the wrong path again. .


After a fire in the church caused by his son consumes all his documents, and without them he cannot look for a job, Pamfir will return to smuggling again. He used to be extremely good at it, but the circumstances have changed now and the Ukrainian-Romanian border is now controlled by some dangerous guys who will give Pamfir a hard time. In the sea of ​​new Ukrainian films in recent years that thematize the conflict with Russia, “Pamfir” was a real refreshment, stylistically interesting and dark, cruel, naturalistic crime drama. Sukholitsky seems to have decided to follow the path previously trodden by Aleksey German and Sergey Loznitsa, who also made films set in those typical Eastern European werewolves.

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And the village in the region of Bukovina vukojebina is par excellence, with knee-deep mud, primitive and raw, violent population of which Pamfir is the true representative, no matter how hard he tries to change. And Jatsenjuk is an excellent debutant as a large, strong mustache with a sudden nature who in the past solved problems with his fists, so on one occasion he beat his father to the point of putting out his eye. He is the guy who inspires awe in everyone in the village and stories about how he fought are told to the children by the fire, but as is usually the case, there will always be someone stronger, more powerful, more numerous or better armed. It is the film that stands out in style, for the most part it all seems so naturalistic and real, and yet in that typical Ukrainian – Russian surreal, insane, unreal and grotesque way. When Pamfir decides to return to his old business of smuggling cigarettes and drugs across the border to make money, it will turn into a brutal, violent thriller.

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