The Village Ukraine has put together a list of films to introduce foreign viewers to contemporary Ukrainian cinema. Our intention is to draw our readers’ attention to films that they can legally stream from abroad, rather than compiling a definitive “best of” list.

 You might also like: 15 classic Ukrainian films to stream right now

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  • Contemporary Ukrainian films

My Thoughts Are Silent

My Thoughts Are Silent trailer

What is the film about? Vadym isn’t some loser, he’s a sound engineer and a dreamer. His big dream is to move to Canada, which his employer will help him do if he successfully completes his present task: to record the calls and sounds made by a number of Ukrainian animals. Vadym returns to his native Zakarpattia region and sets out on this mission with his mother, played by the inimitable Irma Vitovska.

Why watch? My Thoughts Are Silent is a great Ukrainian comedy, and one of the best examples of the new wave of Ukrainian cinema. The film’s director, Antonio Lukich, won wide acclaim for his work and is now considered one of the most exciting contemporary Ukrainian directors.

Where to stream: Takflix (the US, Canada, Western Europe, Ukraine)

Released: 2019

Director: Аntonio Lukich

Starring: Іrma Vitovska, Andrii Lidahovskyi

The Tribe

The Tribe trailer

What is the film about? Serhii is an aspiring gangster and Ania is a sex worker. Both are trying to fit in in Kyiv’s violent underground in early 2010s. The Tribe tells the story of hard of hearing people without a single word spoken out loud: the film uses Ukrainian sign language, with no subtitles, intertitles, or voiceover – the first film in the world to do so.

Why watch? The Tribe, the first and so far only film directed by Мyroslav Slaboshpytskyi, won the Nespresso Grand Prize, as well as the France 4 Visionary Award and the Gan Foundation Support for Distribution Award at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival's International Critics’ Week section. Rolling Stone included The Tribe in its list of 50 best films of the decade.

Where to stream: Sweet.TV

Released: 2014

Director: Мyroslav Slaboshpytskyi

Starring: Hryhorii Fesenko, Yana Novikova

The Wild Fields

The Wild Fields trailer

What is the film about? The Wild Fields is an adaptation of Serhii Zhadan’s novel Voroshylovhrad. It tells the story of Herman, a man who returns to his hometown in eastern Ukraine to defend his brother’s business, a gas pump, after the brother suddenly disappears. He ends up having to defend way more than that: the land of his native Donbas.

Why watch? Voroshylovhrad is a standout novel of contemporary Ukrainian literature very well suited to the western genre, which The Wild Fields draws inspiration from.

Where to stream: Sweet.TV

Released: 2018

Director: Yaroslav Lodyhin

Starring: Оleh Moskalenko, Oleksii Horbunov, Ruslana Khazipova, Volodymyr Yamnenko


Volcano trailer

What is the film about? Lukas, an interpreter for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), finds himself in a broken-down car in the middle of a steppe in Kherson Oblast. This encounter with Ukraine’s south transforms his worldview. Volcano is Roman Bondarchuk’s feature-length directorial debut.

Why watch? Watch Volcano for its mesmerizing depiction of Ukraine’s Kherson Oblast, and because it is one of the most visually striking and mystical contemporary Ukrainian films. The Hollywood Reporter wrote that Volcano was a “poetically surreal love letter to an untamed corner of the Wild East.”

Where to stream: Takflix (not available in Germany, China, and the UK)

Released: 2019

Director: Roman Bondarchuk

Starring: Serhii Stepanskyi, Viktor Zhdanov, Khrystyna Deilyk


Atlantis trailer

What is the film about? The story follows Serhii, a retired soldier, as he navigates life in eastern Ukraine in 2025, one year after Ukraine wins the war with Russia and resumes control over Donbas. Serhii grapples with trauma from the war, the loss of a friend, and the fact that his native region is now ridden with natural disasters. Atlantis epitomizes Valentyn Vasianovych’s directorial style, with its richly detailed, sweeping long shots and a cast of veterans, volunteers, and soldiers, rather than professional actors.

Why watch? Atlantis was named the best Ukrainian film of 2020, and introduces Valentyn Vasianovych as a visionary new voice not only in Ukraine, but also in Europe.

Where to stream: Sweet.TV

Released: 2019

Director: Valentyn Vasianovych

Starring: Аndrii Rymaruk, Liudmyla Bileka


Stop-Zemlia trailer

What is the film about? Masha is an eleventh-grader with plenty of things to make her anxious: her high school exams, the impending start to a life as an adult, and her feelings for a classmate she has been concealing from everyone. Stop-Zemlia is Kateryna Hornostai’s first full-length feature film; teenage actors were casted for the film who had never acted in films before – this might be the first Ukrainian film to really capture a protagonists’ troubled adolescence.

Why watch? The film received the Crystal Bear for the Best Film in the Generation 14plus competition during the 2021 Berlin International Film Festival and best feature film, best director, best actress, and best screenplay at the 2021 Kinokolo National Film Critics Award.

Where to stream: Megogo, Takflix

Released: 2021

Director: Кateryna Hornostai

Starring: Мariia Fedorchenko, Sasha Ivanov, Yana Isaienko, Sienia Markov

Cyborgs: Heroes Never Die

Cyborgs trailer

What is the film about? Cyborgs is a war drama about the defense of Donetsk Airport during the war in Donbas. Director Akhtem Seitablaiev and screenwriter Natalka Vorozhbyt portray the intensity of combat duty at the strategic facility during a critical moment in the airport's defense in September 2014.

Why watch? Cyborgs won the 2017 Zolota Dzyha (Ukrainian Film Academy) award for best feature film.

Where to stream: Sweet.TV

Released: 2017

Director: Akhtem Seitablaiev

Starring: Viacheslav Dovzhenko, Viktor Zhdanov

Bad Roads

Bad Roads teaser

What is the film about? Natalka Vorozhbyt, a Ukrainian playwright and screenwriter, was commissioned to write Bad Roads for London’s Royal Court Theater. The film adaptation tells the story of the temporarily Russian-occupied territories in eastern Ukraine and the 2015 demarcation line through five vignettes connected by bad roads and the focus on the womanly face of war.

Why watch? Bad Roads is one of the most brutally honest and challenging films about the Russian-Ukrainian war and its effect on eastern Ukraine. Vorozhbyt’s directorial debut won her the Verona Film Club Award at the 2020 Venice Film Festival.

Where to stream: Sweet.TV

Released: 2021

Director: Natalka Vorozhbyt

Starring: Yurii Kulinich, Oksana Cherkashyna, Zoia Baranovska, Maryna Klimova


Falling trailer

What is the film about? Anton returns to Kyiv with a drinking problem and unrealistic expectations after studying in Switzerland. Katia meets a German during the Revolution of Dignity in Kyiv and plans to move to Berlin with him. Both must decide where, and how, they will live the rest of their lives.

Why watch? Falling portrays post-Revolution of Dignity Ukraine like no other film. Maryna Stepanska’s directorial debut won her nominations at international film festivals in Odesa and Karlovy Vary.

Where to stream: Takflix (available in the US, Canada, Italy, Germany, Brazil, Poland, Romania, Moldova, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Ukraine)

Released: 2017

Director: Мaryna Stepanska

Starring: Daria Plakhtii, Andrii Siletskyi

U311 Cherkasy

U311 Cherkasy trailer

What is the film about? In 2014, U311 Cherkasy, a Ukrainian warship, ends up stranded in Lake Donuzlav and must put up resistance against the Russian Federation as it launches its war against Ukraine.

Why watch? A rare case of a Ukrainian war film that appeals to a wide audience.

Where to stream: Megogo

Released: 2020

Director: Тymur Yashchenko

Starring: Оleh Shcherbyna, Yevhen Lamakh, Dmytro Sova

The Guide

The Guide trailer

What is the film about? In the 1930s, American engineer Michael Shamrock and his son arrive in Kharkiv to help build the infrastructure for socialism. Shamrock dies under tragic circumstances and his son is rescued by a blind kobzar, an itinerant bard. With no other chance to survive in a foreign land, the boy becomes the kobzar’s guide.

Why watch? The Guide is director Oles Sanin’s second film after his successful debut called Mamay. Sanin is currently working on a new blockbuster, Dovbush.

Where to stream: Takflix

Released: 2014

Director: Оles Sanin

Starring: Stanislav Boklan, Оleksandr Kobzar, Jamala

The Rising Hawk

The Rising Hawk trailer

What is the film about? The Rising Hawk is an uncommon example of a Ukrainian historic-action film. Akhtem Seitablaiev joined the directorial team to film the adaptation of an eponymous Ivan Franko novel about the resistance the Mongol horde encountered in Ukraine’s Carpathian mountains with Robert Patrick (famous for his role as the T-1000, the antagonist in Terminator 2) in the lead role.

Why watch? The Rising Hawk is a Ukrainian epic of grandiose scale.

Where to stream: Megogo

Released: 2019

Directors: Аkhtem Seitablaiev, John Wynn

Starring: Robert Patrick, Tommy Flanagan

When The Trees Fall

When The Trees Fall trailer

What is the film about? Larysa, a small-town girl, and her boyfriend, a young criminal known as Scar, are trying to escape their families’ judgment and the cruelty of 1990s Ukraine. Marysia Nikitiuk tells a familiar story of forbidden love through the eyes of Larysa’s five-year-old cousin.

Why watch? When The Trees Fall was screened during this year’s Berlin International Film Festival. Anastasiia Pustovit won the best actress award at the Odesa International Film Festival for her lead role in the film.

Where to stream: Takflix

Released: 2018

Director: Мarysia Nikitiuk

Starring: Аnastasiia Pustovit, Maksym Samchyk, Sonia Khalaiimova

The Stronghold

The Stronghold trailer

What is the film about? The Stronghold is an adaptation of a young adult fantasy novel by Volodymyr Rutkivskyi, which tells the story of a schoolboy who finds himself in Kyivan Rus, where he meets three heroes: Illia, Dobrynia, and Oleshko.

Why watch? This historical film about Kyivan Rus is one to be enjoyed with the whole family.

Where to stream: Megogo

Released: 2017

Director: Yurii Kovalov

Starring: Roman Lutskyi, Danylo Kamenskyi

Felix Austria (Maid-In-Law)

Felix Austria trailer

What is the film about? Viddana is based on Felix Austria, a novel by Sofia Andrukhovych which in 2014 was named the BBC Ukraine Book of the Year. It tells the story of Stefa, a young servant, and Adele, a noblewoman, who find themselves in Stanyslaviv (now Ivano-Frankivsk) under Austro-Hungarian rule at the turn of the twentieth century.

Why watch? Viddana is a tender romance set in the beautiful city of Ivano-Frankivsk.

Where to stream: Megogo

Released: 2020

Director: Khrystyna Syvolap

Starring: Marianna Yanushevych, Olesia Romanova, Roman Lutskyi

The Gateway

The Gateway trailer

What is the film about? Baba Prisia and her family live in the Chornobyl exclusion zone, with mermaids and other mythical creatures for company. The film is based on a play by Pavlo Arie, which explores the history of Ukraine from one family’s perspective.

Why watch? Irma Vitovska as Baba Prisia is a force of nature.

Where to stream: Takflix

Released: 2018

Director: Volodymyr Tykhyi

Starring: Irma Vitovska


Pulse trailer

What is the film about? Pulse tells the true story of Ukrainian track and field athlete Oksana Boturchuk, who partially lost her sight in a car accident but went on to win medals at the Paralympic Games.

Why watch? One of the first Ukrainian sports dramas.

Where to stream: Sweet.TV

Released: 2020

Director: Serhii Chebotarenko

Starring: Nataliia Babenko, Stanislav Boklan, Akhtem Seitablaiev

Hero of Our Time

Hero of Our Time trailer

What is the film about? “284,000 people come to Kyiv in search of happiness every day,” the trailer for Hero of My Time begins. Zhorik is one of those thousands of people. The film follows him as he begins to climb the social ladder by… working for a water delivery service.

Why watch? A rare comedy about modern-day Kyiv. Tonia Noiabriova won Best Director at the 2018 Odesa International Film Festival.

Where to stream: Sweet.TV

Released: 2018

Director: Tonia Noiabriova

Starring: Yevhen Bushmakin, Oleh Shevtsov, Vasylisa Frolova

Inglorious Serfs

Inglorious Serfs trailer

What is the film about? One of the film’s working titles was Taras Shevchenko: The Original Samurai. Does anyone need further convincing to watch it? [Taras Shevchenko is a 19th century Ukrainian poet, writer, artist, public and political figure, folklorist, and ethnographer, and is revered in Ukraine for both his prolific literary legacy and his active political stance - ed.]

Why watch? One of the most original, inventive, and breathtaking Ukrainian B films, which pays vivid homage to Quentin Tarantino.

Where to stream: Sweet.TV

Released: 2020

Director: Roman Perfiliiev

Starring: Roman Lutskyi

  • Documentaries

The Earth Is Blue As An Orange

The Earth is Blue As An Orange trailer

What is the film about? The Earth is Blue As An Orange is the first Ukrainian film to win a Directing Award in the World Cinema Documentary category at the Sundance festival. The documentary tells the story of a family in the frontline city of Krasnohorivka in Donetsk Oblast. The documentary, written and directed by Iryna Tsilyk, captures both the family’s life and the process of making the film – trying to capture life through fiction.

Why watch? The Earth Is Blue As An Orange is at once one of the best Ukrainian films about the war, and about the power of cinema.

Where to stream: Sweet.TV

Released: 2020

Director: Iryna Tsilyk

Heat Singers

Heat Singers trailer

What is the film about? Ivan Vasylovych is the head of the Ivano-Frankivsk municipal utility trade union, but he is also in charge of the organization’s choir. In her feature-length documentary debut, filmmaker Nadiia Parfan asks whether Ukrainian folk songs can turn cold pipes warm.

Why watch? A moving documentary that at times feels like a feature film.

Where to stream: Takflix

Released: 2020

Director: Nadiia Parfan

Ukrainian Sheriffs

Ukrainian Sheriffs trailer

What is the film about? Viktor and Volodia take power into their own hands when their town in Kherson Oblast finds itself short on police officers. Ukrainian Sheriffs is a feature-length documentary directed by Roman Bondarchuk, the founder of the Docudays documentary festival.

Why watch? Ukrainian Sheriffs is a 2015 Oscar contender and the winner of the International Film Festival in Amsterdam.

Where to stream: Sweet.TV

Released: 2015

Director: Roman Bondarchuk


Mariupolis trailer

What is the film about? “This is not all games and laughter, this is death.” Lithuanian filmmaker Mantas Kvedaravicius made his film about life in Ukraine’s Mariupol, and later returned to the city in the midst of Russia’s full-scale invasion to film Ukrainian resistance. While filming the sequel, Kvedaravicius was captured and killed by the Russian occupation fighters.

Why watch? To see what Ukraine’s Mariupol once like before the full-scale Russian invasion.

Where to stream: Takflix

Released: 2016

Director: Mantas Kvedaravicius

Moustache Funk

Moustache Funk trailer

What is the film about? Vitalii Bardetskyi, founder of the cult Kyiv club Khlib, and TV host Oleksandr Kovsh explore Ukrainian funk music from the 1970s.

Why watch? For the sake of the amazing soundtrack full of old-school Ukrainian hits.

Where to stream: Tytr, Takflix

Released: 2021

Director: Oleksandr Kovsh

The Living Fire

The Living Fire trailer

What is the film about? The film follows three generations of shepherds and their life in the Carpathians.

Why watch? To be transported to Ukraine’s stunning Carpathian mountains.

Where to stream: Takflix

Released: 2016

Director: Ostap Kostiuk

Editor: Yaroslav Druziuk
Translator: Olya Loza
Editor (English): Sam Harvey
Stills: Arthouse Traffic