Cyborgs vs. Vatniks: Hybridity, Weaponized Information, and Mediatized Reality in Recent Ukrainian War Films
Keywords:informational warfare, war cinema, contemporary Ukrainian cinema, cinematic representations of the Donbas war, Akhtem Seitablaev’s Cyborgs: Heroes Never Die (2017), Sergei Loznitsa’s Donbass (2018)
Focusing on Akhtem Seitablaiev’s blockbuster Kiborhy: Heroi ne vmyraiut' (Cyborgs: Heroes Never Die, 2017) and Sergei Loznitsa’s auteur production Donbass (2018), this article argues that the latest cycle of Ukrainian war films merits critical attention as an astute record of conspicuous social transformations in today’s Ukraine and as a medium that presents an original perspective on the hybrid nature of modern war and its mediatization, the latter being a relatively new theme in war films broadly defined. The article uses post-colonial and cyborg theories of hybridity, Baudrillard’s concept of simulacra, and the Marxist notion of “false consciousness” to illustrate how post-Soviet, post-colonial, and post-truth aspects of war-torn Ukraine conflate in Seitablaev’s and Loznitsa’s works to bring to the fore a recent shift in the nature of warfare itself. As the two films unequivocally demonstrate, the latter is defined not so much by high-tech armed operations and direct annihilation of the opponent as by contactless warfare, as well as its consequences for those directly influenced by it.
Copyright (c) 2022 East/West: Journal of Ukrainian Studies
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Ⓒ 2023 Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, University of Alberta, and EWJUS (East-West: Journal of Ukrainian Studies). For permissions and other inquiries, please contact the Editor-in-Chief: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Author transfers and assigns to EWJUS (East-West: Journal of Ukrainian Studies) and the CIUS (Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies), during the full term of copyright and any extensions or renewals of that term, all copyright in and to the Work published in EWJUS by the Author, including but not limited to the right to publish, republish, transmit, sell, distribute and otherwise use the Work in electronic and print editions of EW:JUS and in derivative works throughout the world, in all languages and in all media now known or later developed, and to license or permit others to do so.
Notwithstanding the above, EWJUS grants back to the Author the following distinct rights:
- The non-exclusive right to use, reproduce, distribute, publicly perform, and publicly display the Work in any medium in connection with the Authors’ academic and professional activities, including but not limited to teaching, conference presentations, and lectures.
- The non-exclusive right to create derivative works from the Work.
- The non-exclusive right to make full use of the Work in future research and publications, including the right to republish the Work in whole or in part in any book that one or more of the Authors may write or edit after the Work has appeared.
The Author represents and warrants that the Work is the original work of the Authors and that it does not violate or infringe the law or the rights of any third party and, specifically, that the Work contains no matter that is defamatory or that infringes any literary or proprietary rights, intellectual property rights, or any rights of privacy. The Author also warrants that he or she has the full power to make this agreement, and if the Work was prepared jointly, the Author agrees to inform the Authors of the terms of this Agreement and to obtain their written permission to sign on their behalf. The Author agrees to hold the Journal harmless from any breach of the above-mentioned representations.
Works published by EWJUS are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Under the terms of this license:
- You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
- You may not use the material for commercial purposes.
- If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you may not distribute the modified material.