“I have good news for you: your grandmother will pick you up tomorrow”…
These frames with the words of the shelter educator, this is the happiness of a child who seems to have regained wings, cannot be forgotten.
Extremely strong emotions permeate the entire documentary film “House of Chips”, which was screened on March 6 at the “Stella” cinema in Dublin on the initiative of the Embassy of Ukraine in Ireland and AURI.
The directors of the film – the Dane Simon Lehreng Vilmont and the Ukrainian journalist Azad Safarov – managed to show the real life of many Ukrainian families, which are destroyed by Russia’s war against Ukraine, due to the broken fates of the children.
“House of Chips” is a penetrating story about the fate of Ukrainian children who were admitted to the Children’s Center for Social and Psychological Rehabilitation in Lysychanska due to the parents’ inability to take care of them. Social employees try to create a safe space for children. But in 9 months, their fate must be decided here – either the biological parents will cope with bad habits (mostly alcoholism), find a job, improve the living conditions of their child and return it to them, or the child will find a new family. But if the family is not found, minors end up in a boarding school.
Despite all the moments of crisis, the small heroes of the film mostly dream to return to their parents. Having actually found themselves between two wars – a family war and Russia against Ukraine, it is children who embody hope and demonstrate the best manifestations of the human spirit: they are resourceful and resilient, humane and responsible, loving and faithful.
The directors shot the film themselves, without the help of cameramen, so as not to embarrass the children, so that they behave naturally, as if there was no camera. And they actually managed to capture and show all the sensitivity of the characters. Critics also note this feature of the film: Verrety calls this film "exquisitely intimate."
It is amazing how much understanding, forgiveness and all those best traits that are characteristic of Ukrainians are in small hearts, and neither the Soviet authorities nor the “Russian measure” were able to eradicate this at the genetic level.
The events take place in a city that is depressed, in which there are many unresolved issues social problems… The heroes of the film speak Russian, and this is not surprising. They live in a territory that has been Russified for hundreds of years, imposing the traditions of Russian culture, i.e. lack of culture – drunkenness, thievery… And here are the consequences of long-term deformation of mentality, the consequences of Russia’s long-term war against Ukraine – the very first war on a spiritual level, which continues now full-scale aggression.
The film highlights how broken society is… And it’s hard to even imagine how much love and work must be put in to heal it. But we must persevere and win, restore the destroyed cities and villages, and most importantly – human souls!
Currently, the creators of the film, its heroes and all Ukrainians are waiting, because “House of Chips” was nominated for an “Oscar” and entered the list of the 5 best full-length documentaries. Will it be recognized as the best? This will be decided by the members of the competition jury.
But the fact that a film on an extremely relevant topic is among the nominees is a victory, because it gives an opportunity to speak louder about Russia’s war against Ukraine, highlight social problems caused by aggression, and at the same time unite to solve them. Only together will we win and help others restore their spiritual “houses of chips”!
4 North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7, D07 RHA8, Ireland