Amulet + Talk

A tale of betrayal of national identity,
told through a horror lens.
Part of Kyiv Critics’ Week x De Balie

Mykola Rasheyev
running time
Ukrainian, Russian
Year of production
Program maker
Stefan Malešević
Stefan Malešević
In collaboration with
Kyiv Critics’ Week

After the mysterious death of his brother, an ambitious man continues his case on the Chernobyl investigation, however, on his way to the top there is a hindrance – he starts to become a werewolf. Amulet blends elements of doppelganger and werewolf genres within a narrative set in Kyiv during the resurgence of national consciousness. Parts of the film were shot during the actual protests for Ukrainian independence during the collapse of the USSR.

This screening is presented as part of the KCW x De Balie collaboration, taking place from May 17th to May 21st. Under the banner of “Double Exposure: Ukraine in the 90s“, we will showcase films that were either shot in 90s Ukraine or depict this period of national awakening. Each screening will be followed by a conversation between one of the KCW curators and a Dutch film critic, while the closing event features a live music performance. See the full program and get your tickets for other events here.

Info about speakers

Serhii Ksaverov is a Ukrainian film critic and co-curator of Kyiv Critics’ Week. He is a member of the International Film Press Association (FIPRESCI) and the Union of Ukrainian Film Critics. A regular contributor to LB.UA and DTF MAGAZINE.

Laura van Zuylen writes a.o. for the Dutch magazine de Filmkrant and creates programs for the Dutch National Theatre in The Hague. She is specialised in Italian cinema, classical Hollywood and a fan of horror of all sorts.

Serhii Ksaverov’s introduction of the film

“The last film of renowned Ukrainian Soviet director Mykola Rasheev became one of the ‘lost’ films of the 1990s being almost completely forgotten for almost 20 years. It came out when the theatrical distribution system was already in smithereens and didn’t see the light of the day. Conceived and filmed during the last days of the USSR, Amulet is one of the first attempts to graft Western horror tropes into a local film culture. Like almost any other werewolf tale this gloomy, moody film is about identity or, rather, identities contesting for the same body. What sets it apart however is that the Amulet witnesses struggle not only between personal identities but political and national bodies as well.
When I first saw this film about five years ago, I was struck by how different it was from what I perceived as a typical film of that period. It still embodies many sensibilities and stylistic choices typical of the time, yet it also felt unique. Unlike some other films, it didn’t try to avoid or merely hint at bilingualism in Ukraine at the time. It consciously used it to illustrate how nationality was connected to social benefits. The film didn’t surrender to fashionable Western tropes but neither was it a part of Soviet cinema anymore.”

KCW x De Balie collaboration was made possible with the financial contributions of Steunfonds Oekraïense makersDutch Foundation for Literature and Embassy of Ukraine in the Kingdom of The Netherlands.


Serhii KsaverovUkrainian film critic
Laura van ZuylenDutch film critic