“It’s totally fiction but it’s heavily influenced and inspired by our current reality,” says the director Maksym Nakonechnyi of his debut film Butterfly Vision, which is playing in Un Certain Regard tomorrow in Cannes.
The story follows a young Ukrainian female soldier (Rita Burkovska) who returns home after being held captive for months by Russian soldiers, only to discover she is pregnant after being raped by her warden. In the film, Nakonechnyi examines the toll war can take on a person long after it is over.
Speaking at Deadline’s Cannes Studio, the Ukrainian director told us, “The traces of war keep chasing you long after the hostilities are gone. I want to repeat that the war is not only a location where the shelling and fire takes place.”
Nakonechnyi was working on the documentary Invisible Batallion with Iryna Tsilyk, which chronicled women in armed conflict in eastern Ukraine in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Crimea in 2014. He was impressed when he discovered that one of the characters in the documentary had made a deal with her fellow soldiers: that they would kill her if there was a chance she would go into captivity. Impressed by the strength and the resilience of these women, Nakonechnyi wanted to take the story further into a feature film and enlisted Tsilyk to help him write it.
“I started thinking what is scarier than death awaiting a female soldier in capitivity,” he said.
The director is one of many filmmakers here in Cannes trying to drum up awareness and support for his country as it continues to be invaded by Russia.
“I’m very grateful to be accepted [in Cannes] but I still feel myself at war,” he says.