The Rainbow / Raiduha




Ukrainian SSR


Kyiv Film Studio


93 min


Mark Donskoi


Vanda Vasylevska


Borys Monastyrskyi


Nataliia Uzhvii, Elena Tiapkina, Valentyna Ivashova, Nina Alisova, Anton Dunaiskyi, Hanna Lysianska, Hans Klering, Mykola Braterskyi

The Rainbow stands as a cinematic adaptation of the novel penned by Vanda Vasylevska. Set against the backdrop of World War II, the narrative follows the remarkable journey of Olena Kostiuk, an ordinary Ukrainian woman who transforms into a resolute partisan. Captured by the enemy, she endures unimaginable torture, torment, and the heart-wrenching loss of her newborn child, yet remains unwavering in her loyalty to her unit.

This film stands as one of the most iconic tributes to World War II, created amidst the very fabric of the conflict in 1943. The production unfolded in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, a temporary refuge for the Kyiv Film Studio during that period. The script originally set the film’s events against a wintry landscape, but the scorching Turkmenistan desert necessitated the use of salt instead of snow. Despite the heat, the actors had to wear winter attire. Nataliia Uzhvii, a luminary of Ukrainian cinema, took on the leading role, a pivotal zenith in her illustrious filmography.

The Rainbow was directed by Mark Donskoi, an Odesa native whose fate bore the weight of tragedy. His films garnered international acclaim, with At a Great Cost (1957) heralding the dawn of Ukrainian poetic cinema. Donskoi’s profound influence on Italian neorealism is widely acknowledged. His preference for evocative neo realist aesthetics predated its emergence in Italian cinema, an approach mirrored in The Rainbow. Notably, the film received the prestigious Top Award from The Association of Film Critics of the United States.However, despite this resounding success, Mark Donskoi’s brilliance remained unrecognized within the USSR during his lifetime. Transferred from Moscow to Kyiv, he faced open harassment at the Kyiv studio. Yet, these challenges failed to stifle his creative prowess. When in Ukraine, Donskoi crafted four cinematic masterpieces, including The ainbow, The Taras Family (Unconquered) (1945), Mother (1955), and At a Great Cost (1957).