Fury Makes Me Breathe is about search for meaning in life’s greatest catastrophe

The Organization of Ukrainian Producers (OUP) is shooting a new documentary film “Fury Makes Me Breathe”. It’s based on the story of Ksenia Kayan, one of the subjects of another OUP movie “Mariupol. Unlost Hope”. 

“When we recorded the interviews for “Unlost Hope”, we realized that Ksenia’s story is bigger than the film about the Russian invasion can include,” says Max Lytvynov, the author and director of the film. “This is a portrait film. Inside our heroine we see an inner fire. It not only blows ashes of her grief, but also gives her the energy to fight for life. Now Ukrainians are fighting an external enemy, but after the victory many will fight the internal enemy: post-traumatic syndrome.”

Ksenia Kayan worked in an international humanitarian mission doing humanitarian demining in Donbas.  Agricultural lands in this region have been mined and contaminated by unexploded ordnance as a result of hostilities in 2014. In Putin’s Russia, the organization is labeled as extremist, creating additional risks for Ksenia during the full-scale Russian invasion in 2022.

But her story is more personal. The heroine of the film “Fury Makes Me Breathe” spent the first month of the invasion in Mariupol, when the city had been destroying in various possible ways by the Russian invaders. The people hid from rockets and airstrikes, for example, in the basement of the drama theater, and we know how tragically it ended; or in the basement of the philharmonic, like Ksenia. She spent many days there together with several hundreds of other civilians and describes it: “We were not people there, we were… organisms.”

During one of the Russian attacks on Mariupol, Ksenia Kayan lost her son Bohdan.

After all these, Ksenia did not know how to live on. “At that moment, I already had the intention to do something with myself,” says Ksenia Kayan in the film “Mariupol. Unlost hope”.  — “But right now I’m still living. Because I have very powerful fury and pain inside. This fury helps me breathe. I mapped all possible variants of how things might develop. First variant is to go crazy, slobber, sit, swinging in the corner. Second variant is to destroy yourself until you get a heart attack. Third variant is to kill yourself. Fourth variant is to go through rehabilitation and to try to get back to what is similar to normal life. I sat down and put down all these variants. And I understood that my son Bogdan wouldn’t have approved of any of the first three.”

Story of Ksenia Kayan “after Mariupol”, the feelings of a person with post-traumatic syndrome, the meanings and emotions that help the heroine to hold on, her struggle for the future — all this will be in the film. The authors believe that “Fury Makes Me Breathe” can empower many in their own lives.

Currently, the film “Fury Makes Me Breathe” is in the editing stage, the release will be in February 2023.


Film crew

Author and director — Max Lytvynov

Chief editor — Tala Prystaetska

Journalist — Natalka Kruzhylina

Director of photography — Yuriy Smetanin

Producers — Organization of Ukrainian Producers (OUP), Volodymyr Borodyansky

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