Ganna and her four children live in the Ukraine, in the middle of the war zone. They are working on a small film together that is supposed to capture the lives of the people around them. And it is supposed to help the oldest daughter, Myroslava, to get into film school – she wants to become a cinematographer. But capturing what it is like to live in a war zone while still living in a war zone is not easily done.
The Earth Is Blue as an Orange is a beautiful documentary about growing up in a war zone, about creating art there, but above all about family.
Growing up is a difficult business, and growing up while there is a war around you even more so. But the kids in this film show their amazing resilience and how adaptable they can be. Somehow they are still kids, even when tanks make their way through their city or when the houses in their neighborhood are being shot up. In one of the strongest moments of the film, Myroslava, having just finished school, takes photos in a beautiful dress as behind her a military convoy drives through the streets, tanks and all.
That is not to say that growing up in a situation like this doesn’t leave any scars at all. The film begins with one of the shoots for Myroslava’s film. She tries to interview both of her brothers, talking about the war. But the younger one just freezes up. He can’t put it into words, underscoring both the traumatizing nature of war and the importance of creating art and of telling these stories.
That Myroslava is able to make her film at all – and really, it’s the family’s film, her sister and her mother equally involved and the rest of the family involved, too – is mostly thanks to Ganna, who somehow manages to keep a shelter of normalcy and ordinariness around her children, even under those extraordinary circumstances. It was awesome to watch her interact with her children.
Generally, it was simply awesome to watch it all unfold. The only thing that was missing was being able to watch Myroslava’s film as well – both movies should come in a double feature. But even so, The Earth Is Blue as an Orange is really a work of beauty.