20 Days in Mariupol

Mstyslav Chernov / / 2023

An unflinching and vital inside account of Russia's war in Ukraine, shot in the besieged city of Mariupol by the only journalists left. Courageous, meticulous and with glimpses of hope and humanity amid the devastation.

Rarely has one seen a film that so thoroughly and courageously covers a war from the inside while it is going on. And even if you’ve seen Russia’s horrific war in Ukraine in short TV clips, being fully confronted with it in ’20 Days in Mariupol’ is an unshakeable experience, made by Ukrainian war correspondent Mstyslav Chernov and his team, who were the only ones left in the besieged eastern port city during Russia’s invasion as the bombs fell and the inhabitants fled. Their ever-spinning camera documents the destruction and unimaginable suffering, but also captures small glimpses of hope and humanity amid the ruins, as a human counter to Russian misinformation and propaganda. And while the fighting goes on, Ukrainian journalists struggle to get their vital footage out to a world. But it is not easy when there’s no electricity and no signal for satellites, and Russian forces are closing in all the time.