20 Days in Mariupol

An AP team of Ukrainian journalists trapped in the besieged city of Mariupol struggle to continue their work documenting the atrocities of the Russian invasion. As the only international reporters who remain in the city, they capture what later became defining images of the war: dying children, mass graves, the bombing of a maternity hospital, and more.


20 Days in Mariupol is a devastating documentary. Words really seem inadequate to describe the terrible images that Ukrainian filmmaker and journalist, Mstyslav Chernov, and his team capture.


There are many moments when you wish - for horribly selfish reasons - that Chernov would turn his camera away. He does not. "This is painful," Chernov states in his melancholic narration. "This is painful to watch. But it must be painful to watch". Who could phrase it better?


By showing us these deeply upsetting images - including children that doctors, despite their best efforts, cannot save, dead bodies lying in the streets, mass graves and the bombing of a maternity ward - Chernov hopes to inspire the world to action.



Surely, after watching 20 Days in Mariupol no one could turn away? It is not enough to shed a tear and move on. It is not enough to give this film awards and consider your conscience clear. The desperate hope is that 20 Days in Mariupol's impressive and courageous work raises further awareness and contributes towards a peaceful end to the conflict in Ukraine.


As well as being an important record of what happened in Mariupol at that time, Chernov's documentary is a timely reminder of the importance of independent journalism and conflict zone reporting.


Without films like these, many of us would not witness the senseless, indiscriminate brutality of war. Without films like these, we could fall prey to misinformation. Without films like these, the unacceptable number of lives lost could become sanitized.


Documentaries such as 20 Days in Mariupol ensure that we do not forget the human cost of conflict.

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Jane Douglas-Jones
Jane Douglas-Jones

E: jane@500daysoffilm.com


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