Kiborgy: Heroes Never Die

Daniel Bartchouk for New Pathway – Ukrainian News.

Last year, the Ukrainian Credit Union sponsored the film screening for Akhtem Seitablaev’s The Cyborgs or Kyborgy, a true story of a group of military volunteers nicknamed ‘cyborgs’ which held the war-torn airport of Donetsk in 2014-2015.

The war-drama portrays a brutal tone of realism and modern independence that many Ukrainians have identified with. Its authenticity is derived from its talented cast and crew, in addition to real kyborgy who served as consultants and helped reproduce the tense surreal atmosphere.

The film has resonated with Ukrainians and others alike so strongly that some viewers reported leaving the theatres in silence, as the truthful depictions of the current war were so powerful that they were difficult to watch.

Screenshots from The Cyborgs

The film is of cultural importance, representing the heroic actions of Ukrainian citizens-volunteers, as well as soldiers, and humanizing the war on the big screen. It embodies the Ukrainian struggle for independence, fight for national identity and freedom from foreign oppression.

The war united citizens from different backgrounds that share Ukrainian roots, evident in the mixed languages that are spoken onscreen. It signifies the rise of the Ukrainian heroes, brave people who summoned the courage to fight for their country when it called, an example for now and the future.

The characters all have various psychological and empathetic traits that differ themselves from each other, but share a common goal— free Ukraine, and for this goal they are ready to die. It embodies the contemporary theme that a country of citizen volunteers and soldiers have unified and are willing to sacrifice their lives for Ukraine’s freedom to this day. Not all of these volunteers are trained for action; teachers, farmers, people from all walks of life assist the war effort.

With raving critical reviews, and the biggest box office in Ukraine, the film has been recognized as one of the most acclaimed films about the Ukraine-Russia war. This is of international significance considering that the war is not yet at an end. It is difficult to make a film, let alone capture the tone, and accurately depict the ongoing crisis and give it a just portrayal. This kind of film sets a high standard that overcomes expectations, dramatizing the events to send its message across.

Screenshots from The Cyborgs

Russian military intervention and aggression is ongoing and building up. Rising issues look to be leading towards an unfortunately familiar path, of which foreign countries may not want to acknowledge, but Ukrainians have to prepare for.

The film captures the relations between brothers in arms, and their unstinted expression of life given the dire circumstances. It is a reminder that we are all human and war is a terrible thing. ‘Kiborgy’ is a torch to the Ukrainian people, a reminder of cultural pride and Ukrainian nationalism, and a call to the individual to have bravery and courage in the fight for the Ukrainian identity.