(21 February 2023)
Nariman Aliev | Ukraine | 2019 | 12 | 96 mins | Ukranian | Trailer
A sensitive and well-observed Ukrainian drama. For Mustafa, a Russian speaking Crimean Tatar *, nothing is more important than returning the body of his elder son, Nazim, killed fighting the Russian separatists in the Donbas, to his homeland of Crimea. His younger son Alim, a journalism student in
Kyiv reluctantly accompanies him. The father/son road trip unfolds in tense encounters and suspicion from those they meet on the way. For writer-director Nariman Aliev, a Tatar himself, one young soldier’s death stands in for the slaughter, exile and dispossession of an entire people.
* Crimean Tatars are a Muslim ethnic minority indigenous to the Crimean Peninsula. In May 1944 over 180,000 Crimean Tatars were forcibly deported to Soviet Russia. Enduring dire living conditions almost half are thought to have died of starvation and disease. Following 43 years of exile 2,300 Crimean Tatar swere able to return to their homeland with 19,300 returning the following year. The Soviet authorities neither assisted their return nor compensated them for their lost land. Since the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea, thousands of ethnic Tatars have fled to mainland Ukraine. Russian imperial power remains the lurking offstage villain in Homeward.