Eurovision Transcarpathia


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

The idea is brilliant. It doesn't work exactly as planned, but is a fascinating experiment nevertheless.

When the Eurovision Song Contest was being hosted by Ukraine, director Peter Pomeranzev travelled into the nether regions of Transcarpathia and persuaded those he found there to sing for him. At the same time, he discovers the extraordinary diversity of this forgotten part of Europe. There are 76 different nationalities here, living in reasonable harmony. The old people talk of the death camps in Russia and Nazi concentration camps in Poland.

"I stopped singing after my children died", one lady says. A legless man gives his rendition of war songs. "There are only three of us left", he says and begins to cry. Another remembers Auschwitz. "They enjoyed watching blood flow."

When asked about the EU, they look baffled. "We don't understand the word 'European.'" Meanwhile, at the song contest, gaudily clad girls dance wildly to mid-Atlantic pop.

Someone is mad, and it ain't the old folk.

Reviewed on: 07 Sep 2006
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Contrasting the Eurovision Song Contest with the memories and music of Transcarpathian peasants.

Director: Peter Pomeranzev

Year: 2006

Runtime: 30 minutes

Country: Russia/UK/Ukraine


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