The film Plai. A Mountain Path, directed by Eva Dzhyshyashvili, has won the national DOCU/UKRAINE competition. Despite the full-scale war, all the films from the national competition were shown to the audience of the Krakow Film Festival. And the program’s international jury—Daniel Abma (Netherlands), Devika Girish (US) and Stanislav Bytiutsky (Ukraine)—picked the best film in the program.
Plai. A Mountain Path is Eva Dzhyshyashvili’s feature-length documentary debut which immerses the audience in the life of the Malkovych family. Here is the statement which the jury gave about the winning film on 4 June at the ceremony in Krakow:
"Its topicality makes Plai. A Mountain Path an instantly relevant film in today’s context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but Eva Dzhyshyashvili’s film is that kind of rare, enduring work that both speaks to the moment and transcends it.
The director chronicles the bucolic life of a family in the countryside between the Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine. The camera is intimate and inquisitive but never invasive, and the scenes captured evince a sense of deep trust between the filmmaker and her subjects. The film attunes itself to the rhythms of their day-to-day existence with a genuine curiosity, never forcing the subject of war and instead captures the ways in which war inevitably seeps into and destroys the lives of even those who have no part to play in it. The small children of the family appear as prophets or philosophers, asking bluntly the questions adults feel too jaded even to ponder: if there is a God, why did he or she create war? Or is it a human who did it?
Exuding a kindness that feels like a breath of fresh air in grim times and shot with a stunning eye for the landscapes of the Ukrainian mountains, Plai. A Mountain Path is as gentle as it is urgent. It marks the rise of formidable new talent, whom this jury is pleased to award."
Congratulations to Eva Dzhyshyashvili and the film crew!
Learn more about the film in an interview with the director here.
Main photo by Krakow Film Festival