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Liza’s Tale

original title: Istoria Lizy

2019, 111 min., color and Black&White, Ukrainian-Russian

black and white cinema bullying sunny people

CATEGORIES : Drama, Debut
COUNTRY: Ukraine
PRODUCTION : BUDGET : 245 000 euro


Marianna Akhrarova, Vladislav Pogribniy, Darya Tvoronovich, Mykola Perestyuk


Director : Screenplay : Alexander Zhovna
Cinematographer : Sergey Kolbinev
Producers : Valeriy Kalmykov


FESTIVALS: Pune IFF 2020, Kolkata IFF 2019, Karama Human Rights IFF 2019

Every one is really responsible to all men for all men and for everything», as Dostoyevski’s Father Zosima once said. We try to remind about this wisdom with our film. To summarize it most briefly, the film is about love, but also about the lack of love in places where it is most necessary, where the modern society often avoids it. It is a history of love of two couples, of which one is not very common and another is outright uncommon because they are so-called ‘sunny people’ with Down syndrome. They do not feel comfortable in the harsh and sometimes cruel modern world. Intuitively, they look for a way out and find it in a weird cinema hall, passing through the screen to get into the illusory world of old silent movies where Charlie Chaplin, the great little man and the sad clown, lives. It is there that they forget their everyday problems, empathise with the heroes of silent cinema, and feel clear joy and sincere love, feelings that the world they came from utterly lacks. However, every film has its end; when the show has finished, they find themselves back in the reality where cruelty and cold-bloodedness are everyday things.
In a quest for the story to look natural and truthful, two of four main roles are indeed played by Down syndrome people.

DIRECTOR’S NOTES: This topic disquiets me for many years. We are very different. Sometimes, we are too different. I was always interested in the parallel social world that exists by our side, in people with parallel psychology, intellect, and physical development. For instance, ‘sunny people’ are wonderful, sincere, real, without hidden agenda, without hypocrisy, lies, creepiness, one of those things that are commonly found in the so-called social norm, in the likes of you and me.



With unprofessional actors — ‘sunny people’. People suffering from Down syndrome got unique opportunity to get into the world of old black and white cinema with help of unusual screen in the magic cinema theatre. Existing in the world of favorite films they are forgetting about horrible reality. In the parallel reality, characters are like in paradise: they are free, calm and happy and totally don’t want to come back to reality. Unfortunately, they have to come back and to face a cruel objectivity with dozens of complicated tasks, adventures, and a terrible tragedy later. Who will survive?