What are artists to do in wartime? To simply carry on doing what you’ve always done is impossible, the Ukrainian director Dmytro Sukholytkyy-Sobchuk remarked in an interview a few months after the Russian invasion. “Before the war, I was a filmmaker, but now everybody is a volunteer.” Ever since, he’s been making documentaries to show how the war has changed his country.
The words of Ukrainian writer Oleksandr Mykhed at the beginning of Liturgy of Anti-tank Obstacles illustrate the extent to which the war has bonded the population: “The language of war is now spoken by everybody. And every bayonet, no matter what it is, counts.” This otherwise wordless film shows sculptors making anti-tank obstacles instead of religious statues. The soundtrack accompanies these scenes with liturgical song from a church choir and, later, an air raid alarm.