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Rhino + Talk

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A young man nicknamed ‘Rhino’ quickly works his way
up the criminal hierarchy in 90s Ukraine.
Part of Kyiv Critics’ Week x De Balie

director
Oleh Sentsov
running time
101′
country
Ukraine, Poland, Germany
language
Ukrainian, Russian, German
subtitles
English
year of production
2021
Program maker
Stefan Malešević
Stefan Malešević
In collaboration with
Kyiv Critics’ Week

This richly ornamented story of the rise and fall of a petty gangster, told in an unsentimental manner, premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2021. It became the first Ukrainian film to tackle the anarchy and unlawfulness of the 90s, presenting itself as a story of a lost generation.

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.

Ruud Vos is a film journalist and film programmer at Arthouse LUX, Nijmegen. He writes reviews and does video interviews for FilmTotaal and occasionally reviews genre movies for the Schokkend Nieuws website. He also runs his own movie podcast since 2019, called Thumb Wrestling (or: Duimpjeworstelen), in which he disagrees about a different film with a new guest every two weeks. From 2023 he presides over the Dutch Critics’ Circle (KNF).

Serhii Ksaverov’s introduction of the film

“In 2014, during preparations for this film, Oleh Sentsov was abducted from his home in Crimea and unlawfully incarcerated in Russia on fabricated charges. ‘Rhino’ was completed only after his release in 2019 and premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2021. This robust film takes an unsentimental look at the rise and fall of a petty gangster in 1990s Ukraine. While it could easily fit within the criminal saga genre of any other country, in Ukraine, it was not seen merely as the life story of a small-time “Scarface”. ‘Rhino’ was the first Ukrainian film to confront the most traumatic decade in the country’s history prior to the Russian invasion—the ‘wild 90s’—choosing to navigate this period alongside one of its anti-heroes.
My personal experience growing up in the 1990s was nothing like what was depicted in ‘Rhino.’ However, the violence-dominated chaos and social confusion portrayed in this well-crafted film felt authentic, even if dramatized. Seeing is believing. ‘Rhino’ may not be among the best films of the Ukrainian 90s for me as a piece of cinema that seeks to understand its time, but it stands out as a powerful tour-de-force that confronts and doesn’t shy away from what then felt like an essential part of life.”

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.

Speakers

Serhii KsaverovUkrainian film critic
Ruud VosDutch Film Critic