Close Relations (Rodnye)

Directed by Vitaly Mansky

114 minutes / Color
Russian; Ukrainian / English subtitles
Release: 2016
Copyright: 2016

Following Ukraine’s revolution in 2013, filmmaker Vitaly Mansky travels throughout the region and visit his family. He talks on camera with family members in Ukraine, Crimea and Donetsk, hoping to gain a better understanding of the influence of the many political events on local people. Mansky takes the viewer along on a journey from May 2014 to May 2015. He gets all his family members – mother, grandfather and aunts – to speak out about the situation there. They discuss complex questions, like how important is it where you live or who you want to live with. All the while, global news events are playing out, such as the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. In CLOSE RELATIONS (RODNYE), Mansky’s personal journey reveals how the difficult relationship between Russia and Ukraine is also causing friction between his aunts. The longer Mansky travels, the more tightly interwoven with political events his family’s history becomes – and the more it starts to affect him. —IDFA

“Mansky’s eye for detail is peerless.” —The Guardian

“A poignant home movie with an international dimension, CLOSE RELATIONS attempts to tease out some illuminating personal stories from the recent political and military turmoil in Ukraine. Viewers will have their patience rewarded with a film steeped in somber poetry and occasional black humor.” —The Hollywood Reporter

“This stripped-down, no frills documentary doesn’t look at the disruption to the state, but to the personal cost of political divides as Mansky’s fractured family parallels the fallout of the former Soviet Union. RODNYE affectively chronicles the sense of alienation as Mansky reflects upon his disconnection to his adopted homeland of Russia and his native berth of Ukraine. The personal is indeed political.” —POV Magazine

“Despite overestimating familiarity with Eastern European politics, the film's personal lens pinpoints universal truths about what happens when we accept government policies at face value, and how far patriotism will take those with a war on their hands.” —Cinema Scope

“Intimate and insightful.” —Letterboxd

“Mansky uses these disparate points of view to illustrate how individual lives come together to form a broader conflict... Where many see only a cold-war-esque ‘us vs. them’ conflict, CLOSE RELATIONS invites us to see a diversity of thought. Highly Recommended.” —Video Librarian

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A film by Vitaly Mansky

Select Accolades

  • Best Documentary, Crossing Europe International Film Festival 2017
  • Cultural Resistance Award, Trieste International Film Festival 2017
  • Opening Film, Riga International Film Festival 2016
  • Karlovy Vary International Film Festival 2016
  • Odessa International Film Festival 2016
  • Toronto International Film Festival 2016
  • BFI London International Film Festival 2016
  • Dok Leipzig 2016  


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