Docpoint – Helsinki Documentary Film Festival


In the Rearview

After Russia attacked Ukraine, Polish director Maciek Hamela bought a car and personally went there to evacuate civilians. He drove to Ukraine, picked up mainly women and children, and drove them to safety in Poland.

In the documentary In the Rearview, the camera is in Hamela’s car. The film’s title is to be taken literally, as the camera is often placed in the spot of the car’s rear-view mirror. In the images, we can see bombings and people who are escaping violence and whose futures are uncertain.

Through the car windows, we see bombed apartment buildings and destroyed cars. The people on board are still alive. Many others have faced even worse. Sometimes the Ukrainian refugees talk about their experiences and the fatalities they have witnessed. Sometimes their eyes are on the phone, just like any other passenger’s.

The power of Hamela’s film lies in its concreteness. Watching it brings the everyday lives of refugees close, with their problems both big and small. There is a cat who needs to go pee, because if it does its business in the carrier, the whole car will smell. In the next moment, a woman with gunshot wounds is taken to the hospital over the border.

The film reminds us of the price of war. At the same time as presidents, generals, and prime ministers are making decisions on the lives and deaths of millions of people, a woman who had to suddenly leave her home cries about the cow she left behind, who ate absolutely anything.

Juhana Pettersson (translated by Inari Ylinen)

Original Title: Skąd dokąd
Language: Ukrainian, Russian, Polish, French, English
Subtitles: English
Length: 84 min
Age Limit: K12
Year: 2023
Production Country: Poland, France, Ukraine

Director: Maciek Hamela
Producer: Piotr Grawender, Maciek Hamela
Production Company: Affinity Cine, Pemplum
Distribution Company: Cinephil
Editing: Piotr Ogiński
Cinematographer: Yura Dunay, Wawrzyniec Skoczylas, Marcin Sierakowski, Piotr Grawender
Music: Antoni Komasa-Łazarkiewicz
Sound Design: Marcin Lenarczyk