The Nest of the Turtledove
Panorama | Contemporary World Cinema
Daryna (Rymma Zyubina, excellent) returns to her village in the rural Bukovina region of Ukraine after spending two years in Genoa working as a badante (maid) for a rich, newly divorced lawyer (Mauro Cipriani) and his resentful mother (Lina Bernardi). These years of illegal work have made it possible for Daryna’s husband Dmytro (Vitaliy Linetskiy) to build a new house and for her teenage daughter to pursue her studies. They have also irrevocably changed Daryna: after living in the city for so long, she has become an independent woman. Can she possibly resume her traditional roles as wife and mother—especially given she is pregnant…?
Boasting some of the best cinematography you are likely to see this year (the Bukovina region looks absolutely gorgeous), Taras Tkachenko’s sensitively directed drama flashes back and forth between Daryna’s past in Genoa and her present, eschewing melodrama in favour of a finely etched realism. The contrasts between the vibrant, modern city and the bucolic Ukrainian countryside serve as perfect visual correlatives to Daryna’s conflicted state, while Tkachenko’s subtle introduction of some rural Ukrainian traditions amplify the distance between the old Daryna and the new. Zyubina, who is in almost every scene, portrays Daryna with a compassion and an empathy that perfectly convey her inner battle: will she make a clean break, or will she and her husband somehow find a middle ground and muddle through?
Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Ukrainian National Film Awards 17