DIRECTOR: MICHAL BLASKO STARRING: VITA SMACHELYUK, ALENA MIHULOVA RUNNING TIME: 1 HR 31 MINUTES
Irina lives with her son Igor in a small Czech border town. When she discovers that Igor has been assaulted by three boys her whole world comes crashing down. As time goes on, Irina begins to spot inconsistencies in his story.
Michal Blasko’s film Victim has been chosen by Slovakia for this year’s International Feature category. Set in a small town in Czechia, a mother, Irina, and her son Igor are both Ukrainians living in a low income apartment building. Igor is a gymnast while her mother is a housekeeper who has dreams of opening up her own hair studio. They’re both hoping to get Czech citizenship.
The films starts out with Irina arriving at a hospital as her teenage son has been assaulted. She’s been away in Ukraine preparing paperwork for her Czech citizenship exam, and Igor was home alone. Irina finds out that her son was attacked by three boys, and that the neighbours heard someone running out of the apartment building. His ribs have been significantly damaged and the doctors had to remove a kidney. Igor tells the cops that the attackers were not white, making the Romani people the only suspects, who are also an ethnic minority in Czechia.
But soon after Igor reveals some new information about what occurred to him that night. Was he assaulted or did something else happen?
Vita Smachelyuk as Irina is pitch perfect casting, in an extremely challenging role. She’s a mother, a disappointed parent, a concerned citizen. She speaks Ukrainian and Czech fluently as she talks to her friends in one language and to everyone else in another. She’s in fear for her safety, she has problems sleeping at night, she’s drinking more than usual. All she wants is to deal with this difficult situation without being harmed and she hopes everyone else will come out unscathed after this entire ordeal ends.
Victim is a very unique take between two minorities who are trying desperately to be integrated into society, in this case the Czech one. Irina and Igor want to be accepted in their new country, as is the goal for any new immigrant. Irina will do whatever it takes to give her family the best possible life, so are they the victims of a society where minorities become easy targets? Whatever is the reason, Irina and Igor face a long, uphill battle against other victims of social prejudice.