Surrounded by war since 2014, The Lyschansk Center in Eastern Ukraine houses children displaced due to parental abuse and neglect. The kids there can stay up to nine months. The luckier ones get adopted, while those less fortunate are sent to orphanages. We meet three young residents- Eva, Sasha, and Kolya- and observe their experience as they each ponder highly uncertain futures.
It’s impossible not to be moved by Wilmont’s intimate, Oscar-nominated doc, actually shot before Putin’s broader invasion of Ukraine. The remarkable moments this filmmaker captures with his three subjects reflect the trust he built with them. This portrait of a broken, oppressed country’s ultimate victims- its children- is heartbreaking. Only a few will achieve happy, stable adult lives, and it certainly feels like the angry Kolya is headed in the wrong direction. Still, it’s not all grim at the Center, as the caregivers are kind and the place feels like a haven, though a temporary one. Wilmont captures isolated moments of laughter and play, of kids being kids. Sadly these sequences are fleeting. Though a sobering watch, the unforgettable “House” is well worth a visit.