While we’ve been receiving vital cinematic dispatches from the frontlines of Ukraine’s ongoing battle against Russia, this week another look at the country’s history arrives with Rhino: Ukrainian Godfather. Directed by Oleh Sentsov––who was jailed for years by Russian forces for baseless accusations upon his protest of their annexation of Crimea––his Venice Film Festival selection captures the rise and fall of the Ukrainian Godfather named Rhino as he is submerged into the Ukrainian criminal world in the 1990s and begins his bloody path to the top of the Ukrainian mafia and his destiny.
The film stars Serhii Filimonov, an acclaimed Ukrainian performer who has since put his acting career on hold to fight on the front lines against the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Ahead of the film’s release this Friday by XYZ Films, we’re pleased to exclusively debut the new trailer and poster.
“This movie is based on real events,” the director told THR. “It’s the story of one of my friends who I knew well at the time. All this stuff happened to him. My role in this was just to create the story around it. But I didn’t add any additional drama. It’s a story of a real person, about the terrible things he did. About his regrets and confession and his attempt to transform and live a completely different life. So yes, I spent more than five years in a Russian prison, but I can’t say it really impacted my script. The experience in a Russian prison and the criminal world of 1990s Ukraine are completely different worlds.”
See the exclusive trailer and poster below.
Rhino: Ukrainian Godfather arrives this Friday, March 24.