A Poem for Little People

Ivan Sautkin / Ukraine, Lithuania & United Kingdom / 2023

A cinéma verité looks at the most vulnerable caught up in the front lines of the Russo-Ukrainian War and the volunteers of an evacuation team, putting their lives on the line to save them.

Through its two parallel plotlines, the film follows the exploits of a volunteer evacuation team in the front lines of Eastern Ukraine, led by young, precociously stoic Anton, as well as the wartime daily lives and unlikely friendship of two elderly women – pragmatic Zinaida and dreamy, starry-eyed Taisia – who decided to stay at their homes in the now de-occupied Chernihiv region. While Anton faces the most visceral horrors of war on a daily basis during his team’s urgent, desperate attempts to rescue the most vulnerable, who are often reluctant or unwilling to leave, Zinaida and Taisia seek to pursue any forms of resistance within their power – from praying and writing poetry to hiding historic plaque and reporting intelligence to the Ukrainian military…

A piece of cinéma verité, the film explores the complex dynamics of rescuing and preserving in the most trying of times – not only lives and physical land but faith, hope, memory, culture, and one’s own humanity. As the plotlines ultimately interweave into a double helix, the line between the extraordinary self-sacrifices and at first glance futile, naïve, inconsiderable acts of resistance is blurred, inviting us to notice the indivisibly unified effort by the visible and invisible heroes in the making.