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Sundance 2020 Review: “The Earth Is Blue As An Orange” (2020) ★★★★


What constitutes art and how can we define it? Since the world came into existence, we have encountered many different forms of art whether that art is to smile, fight, life, of gesture, and so on. But we know that for powerful people art is also about displaying strength and invincibility, the result of which is always some war. So what happens when the aforementioned war starts? People die and lose their loved ones. One dropped bomb can erase an entire generation. So, what we do when we find ourselves in the midst of it? How do we cope with it while keeping the sanity of our mind intact? “The Earth Is Blue As An Orange” delivers another perspective of the unnecessity of war and why art is the one thing that can prevent it.

Written and directed by Iryna Tsilyk, the film follows Anna, who as a single mother, tries to raise her four children during the war. Set in Ukraine, the family of five has a common passion for cinema. As they decide which frame needs to be captured to show the ruined area of their nightmarish surroundings, all of them have one goal – to document not only the outside world but the world they see from within their home. Despite the harshness of the situation, Anna manages to create her own narrative so that the children can go through the war unimpacted. While it is easier said than done, through her eyes and abilities, we see that in her hands nothing is impossible.

Taken to the heart of Ukraine’s Krasnohorivka’s war zone, believe it or not, it’s an absolute delight to observe people who try to remain calm when they literally know that their next day is not guaranteed if a bomb drops on them. Anna’s children, for instance, as they sit in front of the camera, discuss the meaning of war for them and what needs to be done, let’s say if they find a mine. All these are being carefully captured under Anna’s undeniable leadership as her tears come down. This is why watching a documentary like this is both hard and eye-opening at the same time. As the film states, war brings nothing but emptiness. However, as you watch the documentary subjects, you will be amazed as to how they stay steady, strong, and emotionally fulfilled while the blue sky slowly but steadily turns into orange.

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