In her début short film “Głód/Hunger”, Marika Krajniewska, a Russian poet, writer, and film Director, who lives and works in Poland, depicts the catastrophic Holodomor, a great famine which befell Ukraine in the 1930s, seen from the perspective of a single, personal tragedy.
The film script was inspired by actual events. The film takes place in 1933. In her film, Marika Krajniewska portrays one of the greatest atrocities committed by the Russian communist regime against the Ukrainian people. It would impossible to discuss this film without providing an insight into the tragedy it depicts. In the 1930s, by order of Josef Stalin, the Communists orchestrated a man-made famine in Ukraine, which barely 100 years ago had been referred to as “The Granary of Europe.” To survive, people resorted to eating bark off the trees, and to cannibalism, as they were forbidden to eat even an ear of the crops which grew in abundance in the fields. Should they have done that, they were shot in the head by the NKVD (secret police). The result of the Holodomor was 3-10 million dead, according to various sources.
The exact number of the people who died of starvation remains unknown. Anne Applebaum has dedicated her latest book Red Famine – Stalin’s War on Ukraine , to this very topic.
As for Krajniewska, she chose to focus on an individual tragedy at the personal level. Abandoned by her husband, a young Ukrainian woman remains in an isolated cottage, doing whatever she can to protect her little son and daughter from the nightmare which surrounds them from all sides. The scenes depicting their relationships, motherly love, and madness, are certainly the most-powerful aspect of the film. With time, the oppressive, claustrophobic, atmosphere felt in the air becomes the leitmotif of the film.
The disturbing atmosphere in the film is enhanced by the music composed by Maciej Pawłowski, and by the outststanding cinematography of Tomek Walasek. Although we only see him in an episodic role, Piotr Głowacki offers a masterly and truly demonic performance.
The majority of the scenes in the film were filmed at the open-air museum at the Maria Znamierowska-Prüffer Ethnographic Museum in Toruń.
Głód / Hunger
Poland 2015, 21′
Directed by: Marika Krajniewska
Screenplay: Marika Krajniewska
Cinematography: Tomasz Walasek
Music: Maciej Pawłowski
Cast: Ewelina Szostkowa, Maja Krajniewska, Piotr Głowacki, Mateusz Damięcki
Executive Producer: Marika Krajniewska, Paulina Łangowska
Produced by: Fundacja Papierowy Motyl
Co-production: Sensi Media, Heliograf
Tofifest IFF – nomination – participation in the Lokalizacje competition.
Winner of a literary contest organised by Pani women’s magazine, 2009; winner of a literary contest organised by the Centre of Culture in Oświęcim, 2009; nominated for the Władysław Reymont Literary Award for her novel Zapach malin; and others.