Arndt Ginzel: White Angel – The End of Marinka

It makes no sense for me to make a review of this shocking documentary from Hell on Earth with heroes, who literally drive from house to house to help the population be evacuated, mostly old people, convincing is needed for many of them, who do not want to leave, others leave with wounds from the shelling, others leave in black plastic bags… It’s what the Germans call a “Dokumentation”, war crimes documented, touching, sometimes unbearable to watch. I saw it online, when this is published the audience is gathered for the opening of DOKLeipzig. Here is what Christoph Terhechte, director of the festival wrote in the festival catalogue:

”The small town of Marinka lies in the Ukrainian Donetsk Oblast. Almost 10,000 people lived there, even though the town was under constant attack by pro-Russian separatists since 2014. When the war escalated in the spring of 2022, however, Marinka came under heavy artillery fire and practically all residents had to leave the town by September. The local police helped get them out. One of the policemen is Vasyl, the protagonist of this film. In a white van, soon christened the “white angel” by the population, he and his colleagues pull civilians out of the line of fire, recover the wounded and the dead. Vasyl’s helmet camera records the dramatic events of their missions: evacuating scared people from their cellars, first aid for the seriously injured, the hasty gathering of personal belongings, the painful and permanent partings.

Six months after the end of Marinka, the Leipzig-based investigative journalist Arndt Ginzel and his crew return to eastern Ukraine. They find the survivors, rescued persons and rescuers, and let them comment the action cam images. They speak of losses, of pain and grief, but also of hopes and dreams. “White Angel – The End of Marinka” is more than a film about war. It is a document of humanity and the longing for peace.”

Germany, 2023, 103 mins.

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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