A visual metaphor that explores the complex relationship between an individual from an oppressive country and their government

NIEB, a short film directed by Valentina Khodevich, serves as a visual metaphor that explores the complex relationship between an individual from an oppressive country and their government, portraying it through the lens of an abusive relationship of a young woman and her partner.

Misha, a young woman, attends a captivating party where the enchanting music of a talented and mysterious DJ captivates her heart. Initially falling in love with the DJ's musical prowess, Misha's infatuation takes a darker turn as she notices unsettling changes in his behavior, revealing an abusive side. This realization prompts Misha to see the world with newfound clarity, recognizing the DJ as a manipulative and oppressive figure. During a dinner party, a heated argument ensues between two guests discussing social media brainwashing and the cost of human freedom. Although the exact context remains unclear initially, Misha listens silently, and a revelation unfolds. Drawing parallels between her toxic romantic relationship and the manipulation tactics of governments, Misha connects the oppressive nature of both situations. Just as the DJ controls her, the government manipulates its citizens.This realisation leads Misha to make a hard decision and break free from the DJ's grip. However, at the very end Misha is dancing to the DJ’s music alone as a sign of accepting his beautiful music but not himself.

Director Valentina Khodnevich says: 'NIEB holds a deeply personal significance, serving as a poignant metaphor that skillfully parallels the dynamics of oppressive governments and abusive relationships. Over the past couple of years, Ukraine has endured the hardships of war and Russian aggression, while the Russian government has portrayed these actions as a "special operation," obscuring the truth of war crimes. This has led to a rift between the two nations, fracturing familial and social bonds. Many Ukrainians and Russians who opposed the war have been forced to flee, losing connections to their homes, loved ones, and identities. This upheaval has prompted a soul-searching journey for many Russians, as they confront their beliefs and allegiances.Through "NIEB," Khodnevich aims to capture the disillusionment of being part of something initially revered, only to realize its flaws. The experience of being Russian in this tumultuous time echoes the dynamics of an abusive relationship, where one is enamoured and blinded by affection, thereby unable to objectively assess the reality of the situation.'


Director - Valentina Khodnevich @khd_valentina

DoP - Paul Bellon de Chassy @paul.bellon

Producer - Costanza Marinese @cosmarinese & Selma Ernestrand

Music by Malthus @malthus___