CREATIVE DIALOGUE OF ARTISTS:V. ZEMLIAK − I. MYKOLAYCHUK; V. ZEMLIAK − V. DENYSENKO(based on the material of the films “Babylon XX” and “Conscience”)

Volume 64-1 (2023)

Anatoliі Tkachenko, DSc (Philol.), Prof., Mariia Shuliak, Bachelor
Educational and Scientific Institute of Philology Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Kyiv


The article analyzes the screenplay gains and losses of the creative dialogue of three artists.
I. Mykolaichuk worked on the film “Babylon XX” based on V. Zemliak’s novel “Flock of Swans” for more than 2 years. In addition to ideological censorship, − a purely creative problem: how to convey a multi-page metaphorical text? Both the internal and external composition underwent changes, and the figurative level of the literary foundation was also affected. Instead, extravagant allegorical scenes were invented. The beginning of the tape impresses with ambivalence with an admixture of the grotesque: a sharp static contrast of two scenes (poverty – wealth). A cinematic metaphor also goes back to Dovzhenko’s poetics: the oxen, like Fabiyan, are breathing heavily, dragging their primordial peasant fate. This episode can also be read as a reversal of the associative chain to the poetics of the sixties.
The film, which was supposed to be two-part, was cut short. The article provides evidence of these cuts and labels accompanying the release of the novel and the film. These are also counterarguments to modern criticisms of the novel about ignoring the theme of the Holodomor. After all, this was done from the position of ignorance about the existence of the corresponding manuscript fragment, about open harassment or being thrown out of the film process for a decade, about threats of a very real attempt on health and life.
The creative tandem of V. Zemliak and V. Denysenko is the film “Conscience” (1968). The times of the Second World War in occupied Ukraine. Guerrilla Vasyl kills an officer, for which the occupiers take his fellow villagers hostage and demand to hand over the killer, otherwise, they will all be shot. The most
distinctive feature of the film is an unconventional approach to the familiar theme of Nazi brutality and national heroism, which contradicts all canons of warpatriotic cinema established at that time. All the artistic means of the tape work to create an atmosphere of unreality, tension, and at the same time sublimity and conventionality. Therefore, it belongs rather to world cinema, European. The influence of the philosophy of existentialism is noticeable: a person found himself in a “borderline” situation, alone with himself. The people are left to fend for themselves, defenseless against the enemy. And at the same time faithful to their dignity… and conscience. The collective hero of the film does not surrender to the
Nazis, even under the threat of death. And for this he receives hope for revival: the boy who accidentally survived remains. It is he who symbolizes the people’s immortality, resilience, and stubborn courage, which even today distinguishes us from our enemies.

Keywords: creative dialogue, literary foundation, film, screenplay, film interpretation, ideological censorship, artistic allusions

Files to Download




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