THE REVIEW OF THE FILM "PIANO" BY VITA MARIA DRYGAS
"Piano" is the second film by Vita Maria Drygas, after the short film "Knife in the Wife." Both are included in Polish competition at the 54th and 55th editions of Krakow Film Festival. In addition, "Knife in the Wife," a portrait of a travelling circus troupe, was awarded at the Hungarian festival Mediawave.
It is hard to imagine a more current context for a documentary film from Central Europe. The director accompanied the revolution in Ukraine with her camera, however, concentrating not on the violence but rather on the beauty of this insurrection, which is often overlooked. The film's protagonist is a piano, dressed in the uniform in blue and yellow national colours, detuned and devastated. It stands to attention in front of a cordon of police and does not belong to anyone, it a symbol of the fight for autonomy. The instrument also inspired other artists: Markiyan Matsekh and Oleg Matsekh, authors of the performance "Imagine," the documentation of which was a part of the 2014 exhibition "I Am a Drop in the Ocean: Art of the Ukrainian Revolution" in the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCAK) in Krakow. Then, the artist was playing the piano opposite police helmets and truncheons. However, such events became daily bread in Maidan. Bohdan, the famous "piano extremist," told in the television recording in CNN that he wanted to show the cultural side of the revolution. "Piano" by Vita Maria Drygas tells exactly this story. After the tragedy, which Bohdan's family had to face, he went to search for the meaning in the fight. His utterances are long and sincere, but sensible and reasonable. What the film's author reveals to the viewers is an image of a sensitive man, who was clad by the History in a soldier's uniform and balaclava. Viktor Yanukovych called his opponents "extremists." Bohdan's "extremism" means sacrificing oneself in a situation in which he has nothing left to lose. The image of a well-built pianist in a balaclava, smoking a cigarette the ash from which falls on the keyboard of the eponymous piano is a meaningful allegory of the Euromaidan.
Vita Maria Drygas presents also other characters. The student of the music conservatory Antonetta Mischenko protested when people wanted to throw the instrument on the barricade. Wearing a down jacket and surrounded by a group of focused people, she plays the "Revolutionary Étude." Lyudmila Chichuk, a pianist who gives concerts around the world, chooses the scene on the street. What unites the protagonists is the passion which they find only when they perform for the crowd in cold Kiev. Bohdan confesses that he did not like to play when he was a child, he treated it as his duty. Antonetta's lesson is the first scene in the film, the teacher interrupts her playing and asks What do you want to do express here? A prayer, a supplication... , and then we see how the student continues her laborious exercise. After a moment, we see her how she plays the piano with passion on the barricades.
The piano is heavy, loud, disturbs some sleeping people, it has to be lugged from place to place, it soaks in the rain, the paint peels off, the piano breaks down. The situation in the Euromaidan deteriorates and is no longer conducive to spontaneous concerts. Bohdan takes the instrument and goes for a concert tour throughout entire Ukraine, just like the revolution reaches far beyond Kiev.