Brothers. The Last Confession (Брати. Остання сповідь) is a 2013 Ukrainian drama film. Though its source material—the novel Sweetness by Swedish writer Torgny Lindgren—is foreign, the film adaptation has turned it into a fully Ukrainian work of art.
The film tells the story of two brothers, Voytko (Войтко, played by Oleg Mosiychuk, Олег Мосійчук) and Stanislav (Станіслав, played by Viktor Demertash, Віктор Демерташ), old men of Hutsul ethnicity who live in a small village in the Carpathian Mountains. Life is difficult there and both are very sick, but they are competing over who can live longer. Their day-to-day lives are interrupted when a writer and religious specialist (played by Nataliya Polovinka, Наталія Половинка) comes to the village to give a lecture at their monastery. She soon becomes involved in the brothers’ lives and finds out about their pasts, including about their single love, Ivha (Ївга; played in her younger years by Veronika Shostak, Вероніка Шостак), and her son, Demiyon (Демійон; played by Yagish Orest, Ягиш Орест)—whose paternity, Voytko or Stanislav, is unknown. The writer, who is never named, decides to try to restore the relationship between the brothers.
The film overall got very good reviews; much was said about its contributions to independent Ukrainian filmmaking. But the director, Viktoria Trofimenko (Вікторія Трофименко), was criticized for her inexperience. The film was widely exhibited at independent film festivals, including the Moscow International Film Festival, where many viewers took it as an allegory for the extremely strained relations between Russia and Ukraine. Despite that, the film won the festival’s jury prize from Russian film critics. Polovinka also won a handful of awards for her portrayal of the writer.
Director: Viktoria Trofimenko (Вікторія Трофименко)
Stars: Oleg Mosiychuk (Олег Мосійчук), Viktor Demertash (Віктор Демерташ), Nataliya Polovinka (Наталія Половинка), Veronika Shostak (Вероніка Шостак), Yagish Orest (Ягиш Орест)
Production company: Pronto Film
Box office take: 223,000 hryvnia (about $8,600 at the current exchange rate)