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Presentation of a book of complete screenplays by Ivan Mykolaychuk

 

For reasons which are very difficult to pin down, even if in-depth research is done, certain writers, poets, actors, artists, captains of industry and politicians become public or cultural figures who are revered, respected and looked up to by a great many people or even whole nations. Quite often, it is only after death these charismatic public or cultural figures attain their special status.

One of such figures in Ukraine in the second half of the twentieth century turned out to be Ivan Mykolaychuk (1941 1987) who began his artistic career as an actor and then graduated to writing screenplays and directing films.

At his premature death, he left behind a rich legacy of admiration, memories, and screenplays. Some of these screenplays were published but there was no definitive collection that would include all of his screenplays, from the earliest to the latest.

The Publishing House Mizhnarodny Turyzm, headed by Oleksandr Horobets, undertook to provide the public with a volume that would present all of the known screenplays written by Ivan Mykolaychuk. The book was compiled by Mariya Mykolaychuk, Ivan Mykolaychuks wife, and edited by Larysa Bryukhovetska, a cinema and theater critic, who was also responsible for the Preface. Support and assistance in the publication of the book was given by the Derzhteleradiokomitet (Television and Radio State Committee) of Ukraine, the Cabinet of Ministers, President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko, the Institute of Literature of the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, and the National Shevchenko Prize Committee of Ukraine. It took three years to gather and edit the materials, to design and then print the book. At last, on December 17 2008 the book was presented to the public. The presentation took place at the Art Gallery of the National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy.

One of the spacious halls of the gallery which displayed on its walls works by Lesya Kara-Kotsya (incidentally, an article about this artist was published in WU # 4 2008)  her cheerful and imaginative art added its own festive touch to the occasion  was the venue of the presentation. The hall was filled to capacity  in fact, to overflowing. All the sitting space was occupied and many people had to stand along the walls.

The presentation was presided by Mariya Mykolaychuk (she was more than Ivans wife  she was his muse; she is also a singer in her own right, a member of the renowned trio Zoloti Klyuchi); Oleksandr Horobets, president of the Mizhnarodny Turyzm Publishing House and initiator of Ivan Mykolaychuks complete screenplays project; Larysa Bryukhovetska, a cinema critic, and Vladyslav Taranyuk, the books managing editor (he owns an impressive collection of Ivan Mykolaychuks memorabilia).

Ivan Mykolaychuk wrote his first screenplay when he was only seventeen years old and he was working on a screenplay which proved to be his last shortly before his death. Those who spoke at the presentation shared their recollections of Ivan Mykolaychuk, told amazing and almost detective stories of how Ivan Mykolaychuks written legacy had been searched for and collected (the soviet authorities frowned on Mykolaychuks open nationalistic views, his stance in culture and his bold approach to the art of cinema, and did not encourage publication of his screenplays). The editors explained their editing principles, their approach to choosing among several variants of the same screenplay the ones that would be finally selected for publication.

The Ukrainian actor Les Serdyuk who worked together with Ivan Mykolaychuk revealed some of Mykolaychuks non-standard and exciting ways of directing films; the poet Ivan Drach enthused about Mykolaychuks talent of handling words, stating that Mykolaychuk was a true wordsmith. Larysa Bryukhovetska gave interesting insights into her editorial work on the book and into the phenomenon of the Ukrainian poetic cinema of which Ivan Mykolaychuk was a leading representative.

The atmosphere at the presentation was that of a gathering of friends rather than of an official event. In the course of the presentation, a documentary film about Ivan Mykolaychuk was shown, the trio Zoloti Klyuchi performed several songs, among which were those that Mykolaychuk was fond of. The audience joined in the singing.

The book, in addition to being a valuable contribution to Ukrainian culture, was praised for its excellent design and high-quality print. Book lovers will love just to hold it in their hands, enjoying the touch and smell of a newly-printed tome.

The Publishing House Mizhnarodny Turyzm also offered CDs with Bukovyna songs recently recorded by Mariya Mykolaychuk, booklets, postcards and copies of the magazines it publishes, which are devoted to, or connected in some way with, Ivan Mykolaychuk.

At the end of the presentation, the guests were treated to a sumptuous buffet, enhanced by a wide selection of soft and not so soft drinks.

One wished that the stories, anecdotes and recollections exchanged at the party could be collected and published too  they would constitute an additional and lively tribute to Ivan Mykolaychuk, the person of various talents and powerful personality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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