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    New Film Sheds Light on the Ongoing War in Ukraine: “Ludzie” Starring Cezary Pazura

    In an emotionally charged premiere on February 26th at Warsaw’s Kino Elektronik, the film Ludzie (The People – ed.) commemorates the second anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Directed by Maciej Ślesicki, known for his works such as “Tato”, “Sara”, and “Show”, and Filip Hillesland, the creator behind “Kraj”, “Tropical Island”, and “Toast”, the film offers a poignant look into the lives of Ukrainian women at the onset of the Russian invasion in 2022. Unlike traditional war dramas, the film focuses on the civilians caught in the crossfire, showcasing the war’s nightmares through the eyes of ordinary people.

    Produced by the Warsaw Film School with support from various Polish institutions, including the Polish Film Institute, and ministries, the film features performances by Cezary Pazura, Oksana Cherkashyna, and Mariia Shtofa. The Warsaw screening was attended by the film’s creators, actors, and notable guests from the entertainment industry, media, and politics.

    Director and screenwriter Maciej Ślesicki shared his motivations for making the film: “We made this film with the conviction that after two years since the outbreak of the full-scale war in Ukraine, Western societies might begin to tire and forget about it. We wanted to create something that would remind them and convey that innocent people are dying very close to us, people who did nothing wrong.”

    Cezary Pazura, who plays one of the leading roles, described the project as a significant challenge, especially working with blind children from Ukraine: “It was a threshold of empathy I had to cross. We grew very fond of each other.” For Pazura, this was his first role in a film about contemporary war, setting a new professional challenge for him.

    Pazura emphasized the film’s non-commercial intent, focusing instead on stirring emotions and empathy towards the plight of women caught in the conflict. “Countries, perhaps even Hollywood in the future, will take on this subject. But it will all be very commercial. This film is not about commerce; it’s about moving us, about people, about empathy, about women. That’s what’s most important.”

    Filip Hillesland highlighted the reliance on firsthand accounts from people who had recently left Ukraine, offering a unique and immediate perspective on the war. He also mentioned the emotional challenges faced by the team in recreating the horrors of the conflict and the responsibility they felt towards both the story and the actors.

    The film also involved Oleg Obernichin, a former Ukrainian soldier now working as a psychiatrist treating soldiers with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – ed.), underscoring the ongoing relevance and necessity of telling these stories. Oksana Cherkashyna, playing a lead role, shared her unchanged passion for acting despite the added stress and pain of the war, highlighting the film’s potential to foster empathy for millions forced to flee their country.

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