26 September 2023

Mavka: The Forest Song

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Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

Director: Oleh Malamuzh, Oleksandra Ruban, Rialto Distribution

Language: English, Ukrainian.

Referred to as the most anticipated animated-feature to ever come from the Ukraine, Mavka is based on a drama The Forest Song by Lesya Ukrainka, and is also derived from images of Slavic mythology.

It’s an enchanting tale about Mavka, a Soul of the Forest, who is its newly chosen Guardian. Her primary mission is to protect the forest and its sacrosanct heart — the Source of Life itself — against any aggression or intrusion, including on the part of humans.

Mavka faces an impossible choice between love and her duty as guardian to the Heart of the Forest, when she falls in love with a human — the talented young musician Lucas. He is an unassuming village boy, who has a great love of music and pours his talent into playing his wooden flute and dreaming of devoting his life to this passion of his.

This is a relatable story about the magical power of love.

The filmmakers make an effort to popularise the worldwide export of Ukrainian culture, its yet undiscovered uniqueness and authentic attributes (traditions, rituals, music, locations, ornaments). Thus, Olga Navrotska was the first Ukrainian fashion designer to create costumes for animated movies. She worked on the design of Mavka’s image by combining elements such as fantasy, national motifs, allusions of beautiful nature and echoes of myths, all of which resonate with the subject of the film and the worlds within it.

Sets and exteriors used in the film are based on real Ukrainian locations and famous touristic attractions: the Carpathian and Polissya forests, Vilkovo village, Buky Canyon. Even the original soundtrack is written by well-known Ukrainian musicians, and are a mix of Ukrainian folk tunes in modern adaptations, as well as compositions created specially for the movie.

  • Mavka: The Forest Song is screening in cinemas

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