Ukraine and films in the Klassiki database : the August 2022 Slavonic items of the month

Last year, Cambridge University Libraries started providing access to the Klassiki database of films from Eastern Europe, Russia, the Caucasus, and Central Asia.  The subscription was started specifically to support courses taught under the auspices of Film Studies and/or Slavonic Studies.  In its own words: “Klassiki hosts a highly curated permanent collection of films that represent the best of classic filmmaking from the region. We also offer a brand new ‘Pick of the Week’ contemporary title, selected by the curatorial team. Each of our films are accompanied by programme notes, journal essays, newly commissioned subtitles and online interviews with the best filmmakers from the region.”

In terms of Ukraine, the Klassiki database currently has 6 films in its Ukraine section.  It did have a 7th – the documentary film Mariupolis (2016) directed by Mantas Kvedaravičius.  As readers will probably already know, that film was about the experience of Mariupolʹ under fire from Russian-backed separatists, and its director was tragically murdered there this year in March, a victim of the 2022 full-scale war.  He had been in the city to make a sequel.  The 2016 film is no longer on Klassiki, since ARTE.tv have been able to license it to make it fully and freely available on YouTube here.  Kvedaravičius’ 2013 Cambridge PhD thesis, Knots of absence : death, dreams, and disappearances at the limits of law in the counter-terrorism zone of Chechnya, is at the Haddon Library and in the Library Storage Facility, and here is his home department’s tribute to him.

The Ukrainian films on Klassiki were made in Ukraine and chiefly by Ukrainian directors, with one in Ukrainian (and Hutsul), two silent, and three in Russian.  They include two films by Kira Muratova, two by Oleksandr Dovz︠h︡enko, one by Serhiĭ Paradz︠h︡anov (Sergei Parajanov here), and one by Marlen Khut︠s︡iev (who Cambridge was fortunate enough to host in a 2014 visit).  The films’ descriptions from Klassiki follow. Continue reading

Vpered, Ukraïno! = Forward, Ukraine!

This brief blog post looks at a publication produced in France which we hold in the Library in the Peter Yakimiuk collection.

Vpered, Ukraïno! (note the vocative form of the country name) was published in Paris by the group Ukrainian National Unity in France, in their Library of Self-Enlightenment, and describes itself in its sub-title as a narodnyĭ deklamator, a folk reciter.

The book contains Ukrainian poems by Taras Shevchenko, Ivan Franko, Oleksander Olesʹ, and many more.  Lesi︠a︡ Ukraïnka (1873-1913) has the greatest number of poems in the compilations.  Brief biographical notes of the authors follow the body of poems, and looking at these more closely today, I see that the approximate date of publication given to the book (1945) must be wrong – the writer Leonid Mosenda’s entry refers to his death in 1948 – so I will update it it in the catalogue now.

The book has come up in connection with preparations for a small exhibition we hope to curate in the autumn with the local Cambridge refugee community – more details when we know them! – which will celebrate Ukrainian culture and history.  The cover is fairly eye-catching, but it’s the encouragement of the title that understandably attracts us in 2022 as Ukraine fights on.  Vpered, Ukraïno!

Mel Bach

A couple of Ukrainian music titles

The week before last, I wrote about a small guide to the Museum of Ukrainian Culture in the Slovak village of Svydnyk.  Today, I bumped into two related books, one of which needed a major overhaul of its catalogue record.

Slovat︠s︡ʹko-ukraïnsʹki pisenni zv’i︠a︡zky (Slovak-Ukrainian song links/connections), written by Oksana Melʹnyk and published in 1970, even had a typo in its first three letters, with SLO provided as SOL. Continue reading

New Ukrainian books about the world before 2022

To our joy, several boxes of Ukrainian books were received recently from our supplier.  They are largely publications from 2020 and 2021, so the 2022 full-scale invasion of the country by Russia is not yet reflected.  That said, some of these new arrivals are of course books about the state of post-Soviet Ukrainian politics and history, Ukrainian-Russian relations, and the events of 2014 onwards.  A selection of such titles, newly in the catalogue, is briefly described below.

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Slovakia’s Museum of Ukrainian Culture

The Ukrainian-Slovak border is 60 miles long and lies largely in the Carpathians.  Communities near the border on both sides often reflect in their demographics the ethnic history of the area, with Ukrainians, Slovaks, and Rusyns present.  There are also more institution-based signs of this diversity; another 60 miles or so on the Slovak side of the border is the village of Svidník (Свидник/Svydnyk in Ukrainian), where the Museum of Ukrainian Culture is to be found.

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