The White Bird Marked with Black / Bilyi ptakh z chornoiu oznakoiu




Ukrainian SSR


Oleksandr Dovzhenko Film Studio


90 min.


Yurii Illienko


Yurii Illienko, Ivan Mykolaichuk


Vilen Kaliuta


Larysa Kadochnykova, Bohdan Stupka, Ivan Mykolaichuk, Yurii Mykolaichuk, Mykhailo Illienko, Nataliia Naum, Dzhemma Firsova, Leonid Bakshtaiev, Aleksandr Plotnikov, Vasyl Symchych, Oleh Polstvin, Volodymyr Shakalo, Kostiantyn Stepankov, Mykola Oliinyk

In his third work as director, Yurii Illienko explores the tragedy of the poor Ukrainian Zvonar family that lives in the Carpathian Mountains near the Rumanian border. The action unfolds in the time of war and terror (1937-1947). Five brothers make up the village band, but as the battle between the Nazi-supported Ukrainian nationalists and the Soviets goes on, the band loses one player after another. Petro joins the Red Army, Orest joins the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, and Bohdan stays at home. However, their fates inevitably cross, whether in love or in the mountains with arms.

Bilyi ptakh z chornoiu oznakoiu features an iconic Ukrainian narrative about revolution as a point at which the subject and the social units it is involved with (the family) are irrevocably transformed. Even though Soviet censorship didn’t allow Illienko to express his ideas freely, Bilyi ptakh z chornoiu oznakoiu strikes the viewer with an impressive director’s style and brilliant acting.

This poetic, expressive, deeply metaphorical vision of social and personal war conflicts was highly evaluated at Moscow and Sorrento film festivals.