Sheffield Doc/Fest Review: Mountains and Heaven in Between

While Ukraine is a country with a lot of history, it has come a long way since the collapse of the USSR at the beginning of the 1990s. Before Putin invaded, Kiev and other major cities were fast-becoming modern European metropolises. This was particularly the case in the western half of the country. However, while the urban areas embraced the technological revolution, nothing much changes in the countryside.

On the edge of the Carpathian Mountains in southwest of the country, little stirs. In the small village of Kolochava, life carries on as it has done for decades, probably centuries. However, all is not what it seems. Four paramedics (Mariia, Tetiana, Anna and Svitlana) go about their daily work, well known to those they serve. Something is awry though. They’re in the middle of a pandemic and the locals aren’t happy. Mountains and Heaven in Between follows their routines.

Mountains and Heaven in Between is an intimate portrait of a small community dealing with the everyday and the extraordinary. It’s fascinating to watch life go by and their micro-interactions open up layers of wider discussion. Dmytro Hreshko’s almost timelessly remote world feels like something out a dream or a bygone age. If it wasn’t for COVID-19 wheedling its way in, you might be forgiven in thinking that Mountains and Heaven in Between wasn’t a contemporary documentary.

Mountains and Heaven in Between screens at Sheffield Doc/Fest.

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