Sunday, April 14, 2024

Wanted to show what happened in Ukraine in ’90s: Oleh Sentsov

Oleh Sentsov

With “Rhino”, Ukrainian filmmaker Oleh Sentsov aims to tell a story about a turbulent time in his country and says the film should serve as a reminder to people that they should not repeat the mistakes of the past.

The movie, which was screened at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), is a crime drama set in 1990s Ukraine when it became a separate state after the fall of the Soviet Union.
It follows the rise and fall of a violent criminal Rhino who finds success in the underworld that fills the power void in the 1990s, a period that is often referred to as “Wild 90s”.
“It is set in the early 1990s when Ukraine became an independent country after the Soviet Union collapsed. But after that, we had a very sick and evil government. The power was taken by criminal groups and gangsters who were very violent.
“It was a short period in Ukraine’s history but it changed our country and our own people. With this film, I wanted to show the whole world how we lived in those terrible times,” Sentsov told PTI in an interview.
The filmmaker claimed there are “no films” in Ukraine based on the “Wild 90s” and he wanted to show an apt presentation of that time.
“We have no films about the ‘Wild 90s’ but it is a part of our history. It’s that period of time that influenced us. I believe that we should revisit history so that we don’t commit the same mistakes in future.

“‘Rhino’ is based on real events and it is the story of one of my friends who I knew well at the time. All this stuff happened to him and I have created the story around it. The ’90s were a time of cruelty and meaningless violence. And I can’t tolerate violence,” Sentsov added.
“Rhino” is the filmmaker’s third feature film after “Gamer” (2011) and “Numbers”, which was released in 2020.
But the film’s journey has been a tumultuous one, just like Sentsov’s life. He was arrested by the Russian forces in Crimea in 2014 for his protest over annexation of the region. He was sentenced to 20 years on charges of plotting terrorism acts in 2015.
It was in 2019 when Sentsov became a free man after he was released in a prisoner swap between Russia and Ukraine. (PTI)