A bleak, wintery Ukraine set a few years into the future, post-conflict with Russia, is the setting for a surprisingly touching, humane narrative from writer/director Valentyn Vasyanovych (Kredens, Reflection).

Small in scale, big in ambition, Atlantis sees Sergey (Andriy Rymaruk – Reflection, Marija), a former soldier, survive the conflict yet remain displaced. East Ukraine is an economic and ecological disaster. The heavy industry of the region has been destroyed, mines laid, water contaminated, the landscape itself a wasteland devoid of vegetation. To cope, Sergey volunteers with a group exhuming war corpses.

In spite of its grim premise, Atlantis is both haunting and real, powerful yet hopeful. Vasyanovych finds both beauty and poetry in his narrative as Sergey and co-worker Katya (Liudmyla Bileka) find each other within the death and devastation of war.

Rating: 77%

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