Made in Ukraine under difficult conditions, Mavka: The Forest Song tells the story of Mavka, a female character drawn from Ukrainian legends who stands for peace and love above hate, and goodwill above evil. Source: Jesuit Media.
The film is based on the fairy-tale drama, The Forest Song, written by author, poet and activist Lesya Ukrainka, and it vibrantly and authentically promotes Ukrainian culture and incorporates strong mythological imagery.
In the film, Mavka is newly appointed as Guardian of the Forest and pledged to protect the forest and its heart, the Source of Life, against unwelcome intrusion and aggression, especially by humans. In caring for the forest, Mavka falls in love with a village boy called Lucas who entrances her by playing his wooden flute to wondrous effect.
For the first time, Mavka experiences conflict between duty and love. Evil erupts when Kylina, a sinister force, viciously threatens Mavka and Lucas’ new-found love. Does true love prevail and harmony and joy return to the forest?
Mavka: The Forest Song is an outstanding fantasy film made in the midst of the Ukrainian war with Russia. The making of the film was postponed and delayed by frequent armed shelling and gunfire, and the film’s production took place in buildings and settings subject to violent assault, civil unrest, and massive property destruction. Work frequently had to stop, and resume after bombing. This film was made by Ukrainians, who left the film’s Production Studios to fight, but who then returned to do the work that was necessary to finish the film.
There are scary scenes in the film that emanate from Kylina’s evil intent. The advice to viewers given in the film’s classification rating gives proper warning to parents choosing the film, but adults might usefully accompany their children to talk about the richness of the film’s meaning.
This well-produced and well-directed fantasy film from Ukraine has graced the cinema screen at a remarkable time, and in a remarkable way.
Mavka: The Forest Song: Voiced in English. Directed by Oleksandra Ruban and Oleh Malamuzh. Voiced by Nataliya Denisenko, Yulia Sanina, Artem Pivovarov and Elena Kravets. Rated PG (Mild fantasy themes and animated violence, some scenes may scare young children). 99 min.
Mavka: The Forest Song (Jesuit Media via Australian Catholics).