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Close Relations

// Presented as part of Filmatique's Tallinn Black Nights Series // 

Essay: A Political and Personal Voyage through Modern-day Ukraine in Vitaly Mansky's Close Relations

Spotlight on Close Relations



Vitaly Mansky / Ukraine, 2016 / Tallinn Black Nights, BFI London, DokFest Leipzig, Göteborg, IDFA, Karlovy Vary, Odessa, Riga, Seattle, Tel Aviv, Thessaloniki, Toronto, Trieste, Vilnius, Visions du Réel / 112'


Following the 2014 Maidan Revolution in Ukraine, celebrated documentary filmmaker Vitaly Mansky crisscrosses the country to assess the political climate by way of interviews with members of both his nuclear and extended family.  The constantly shifting borders give way to divisions over ideas of patriotism, geopolitics and the ethics of war— calling into question the epistemology of national identity itself.


In his most most personal documentary film to date, Mansky captures how the fault-lines within a family can reveal the political chaos of a country as a whole, painting a rare and honest portrait of modern-day Ukraine.  Close Relations premiered at Tallinn Black Nights, Toronto, Karlovy Vary and Visions du Réel.

"In order to examine national identity, it's often best to use the personal as a lens into the political.  Vitaly Mansky's new documentary Close Relations is a personal investigation of his family's Ukrainian roots, or lack thereof, and in the process explores the definition of national identity... Close Relations explores the amusing, intriguing differences of opinion about the fate of Ukraine as it deals with warfare against its neighbor"

- Vikram Murthi, Film ReviewIndiewire