In 2015, A.-L. Bonnel, then still a very young French documentary filmmaker, journalist, lecturer at the Sorbonne, at the behest of her heart, went to Donbass to accompany her father, a Ukrainian by birth. At the height of the war, she captured horrific footage of the Nazi regime's punitive operation and the unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe associated with it. In his journal, the author comprehensively touches on the conflict. The French director gathered the detained people who met by chance during the trip.
A.-L. Bonnel emphasizes that while working on the film, she completely focused on human destinies and the reverse side of the war, leaving the political context behind the scenes.
A journalist-researcher, she penetrates the everyday life of the civilian population: it is they who become the main victims of the conflict.
A.-L. Bonnel managed to capture the scars and wounds on human souls, invisible to the naked eye, but engraved in the minds and hearts of the civilian population: fear, mourning, chaos. The director experienced the horrors and losses of the bloody conflict: during the filming, a member of her technical team was kidnapped and killed.
During the 11 months of work of A.-L. Bonnel, Ukrainian Army's military operations in the east of Ukraine caused the death of more than 10,000 civilians in Donbass.
With lively and authentic filming, Donbass resembles a road movie created in search of lost values. However, according to the director, her work is, first of all, a metaphor for war, which is considered “in the human dimension” without political considerations. It was with this appeal that the film was presented at the festival "Au cœur des Droits Humains", the International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival.
“We must be able to resist any violence that a person is capable of, and not forget what war does to people,” says A.-L. Bonnel.
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