Fuzhou / Фучжоу

Published: January 9, 2017

Fuzhou, or Waiting for a Cargo on the Fuzhou Run by the Pagoda (ФучжоуОчікуючи вантаж на рейді Фучжоу біля пагоди), is a 1993 Ukrainian classic drama/love story.

The film takes place in several locations across the world—Ukrainian villages, the Florida coast, the Bermuda triangle—united by the motif of the wind. The main characters, the couple Orest and Katerina, are flung to opposite sides of the ocean as the result of a storm. The film tells the stories of their adventures afterward, as well as those of Ukrainian emigrants. The wind is presented as the main hero of the film.

Surreal and poetic, Fuzhou is often cited as part of the small tradition of Ukrainian folk films, or films showing the Ukrainian spirit. It is meant to be a film version of Ukrainian folk art. Its soundtrack features folk music performed by the Golden Keys (Золоті ключі) trio and Leopold Yashchenko’s Folk Choir (народного хору під керівництвом Леопольда Ященка).

The film has very good audience reviews, and won several major awards back when it was released: the jury prize at the Golden Eagle (Золотой Орел) in 1993, and, from the Stozhari (Стожари) film festival, prizes for best male supporting role for Bogdan Stupka (Богдан Ступка), best debut for Ivanna Illyenko (Іванна Іллєнко—daughter of the film’s director, Mikhailo Illyenko, Михайло Іллєнко), and best amateur performance for Natalya Rozkokokha (Наталя Розкокоха).

Many of the actors in the film went on to perform in other important Ukrainian films: Taras Denisenko (Тарас Денисенко), who played Orest, made an appearance in The Guide (Поводир); Ivanna Illyenko appeared in Firecrosser (ТойХтоПройшовКрізьВогонь), again directed by her father, Mikhailo Illyenko; and the famous Bogdan Stupka has also acted in Black Council (Чорна рада), A Prayer for Hetman Mazepa (Молитва за гетьмана Мазепу), A Driver for Vera (Водій для Віри), Sappho (Сафо),  and Taras Bulba (Тарас Бульба), among many others.


Director: Mikhailo Illyenko (Михайло Іллєнко)
Stars: Taras Denisenko (Тарас Денисенко), Ivanna Illyenko (Іванна Іллєнко), Valentin Trotsyuk (Валентин Троцюк), Bogdan Stupka (Богдан Ступка), Darya Rasheeva (Дар’я Рашеєва)
Production company: Danapris-Film, Kinostudia Oleksandra Dovzhenka


The official trailer is not available online, but you can try searching on YouTube here.



About the author

Julie Hersh

Julie studied Russian as a Second Language in Irkutsk and before that, Bishkek, with SRAS's Home and Abroad Scholarship program, with the goal of someday having some sort of Russia/Eurasia-related career. She recently got her master’s degree from the University of Glasgow and the University of Tartu, where she studied women’s dissent in Soviet Russia. She also has a bachelor’s degree in literature from Yale. Some of her favorite Russian authors are Sorokin, Shishkin, Il’f and Petrov, and Akhmatova. In her spare time Julie cautiously practices martial arts, reads feminist websites, and taste-tests instant coffee for her blog.

Program attended: Home and Abroad Scholar

View all posts by: Julie Hersh