Mykyta Lyskov’s ‘Kohannia’ Is A Surreal And Timely Peek At Modern-Day Ukraine
“You can’t understand everything in my movie if you’re not from Ukraine,” says director Mykyta Lyskov of his short film, Kohannia (2019). That might be the understatement of the year.
Kohannia, which roughly translates to Deep Love, jumps from one surreal situation to another, tied together only by plastic bags, which are apparently a bit of a problem in Ukraine. Here is Lyskov’s official description of the film: “The place of this animated short is the city Dnipro. Partly a documentary, through the prism of absurdity and black humor, the film tells the story about a big city during historical changes and decommunization.”
Despite the location-specific context of the film, it has resonated with audiences outside of the country, winning numerous major prizes at DOK Leipzig (Germany), PÖFF Shorts (Estonia), Animocje (Poland), and Turku (Finland). It has also made waves inside of Ukraine, taking honors at the Kyiv Int’l Film Festival, Kinoshok, and Linoleum, among other festivals.
In Kohannia, Lyskov depicts the feeling of inertia in his hometown of Dnipro, and the inability (or unwillingness) of its residents to shake off the Soviet influence, even decades after the fall of communism. Today, as the world watched Russia invade Ukraine, the film takes on a new poignancy and allows those of us outside of the country to understand the situation more clearly.
Lyskov offers more insights into the short in this interview: