A House on the Edge
Film by Yulia Vishnevets
2016, 50 min
Official selection of Atrdocfest IFF (2016)
Natalia Petrovna from Donetsk was lucky. She was in a bomb shelter the night of the fighting in which her house was destroyed. Nadezhda Petrovna, whom we meet in Svitlodarsk, was also lucky. The shells that hit her neighbor’s house burnt down only a shed on her property. Two women of the same age, sharing similar stories, are separated by the war and supposed to be enemies.
The Donetsk region of Ukraine is now divided in two parts – one is controlled by separatists, the other by Ukraine. The borderline is drawn basically at random, simply reflecting the line of battle at the time of negotiations. Since September 2014 an armistice has been in place between the two sides. But the terms of the ceasefire were violated from the very start, as the forces of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Ukrainian army engaged in artillery battles every night. They regularly missed the mark, as shells hit houses and caused many civilian casualties. After the bombing Natalia Petrovna moved to a Soviet-era shelter. In August 2015 the shelter would host dozens of people, who would stay overnight to be safe from the fighting, moving back to their homes at daytime. Those whose houses had been destroyed had taken up permanent residence there.