Galicia - In Search of Ukraine´s Identity

A Documentary by Gernot Stadler and Björn Kölz

Documentary drama, 30 min, 2014
GS-Film, ORF/3sat
Directed by
Björn Kölz and Gernot Stadler
Gernot Stadler
Camera assistance, Sound
Björn Kölz
ORF Enterprise

The documentary “The Myth of Galicia” sets out to search for traces in a region that was an Austrian crown land until 1918 and, after a century of turbulent history, is once again facing the test of tears. Lviv and other places are fondly reminded of the time, which is now quite romanticized, when Poles, Ukrainians, Jews and Germans lived together peacefully in the “House of Austria” in western Ukraine. Many people have a pronounced “Galician” consciousness, which at least serves as a demarcation from the Russian-dominated east of Ukraine. The film also shows how the enormous violence used against the protestants on the Maidan square in Kiev has brought Ukrainian and Russian-speaking citizens closer together, and how the common struggle for a free, self-determined country leads to the overcoming of national prejudices and a new supra-ethnic identity. In this context, Ukrainian writers such as Natalka Sniadanko and Jurko Prochasko even speak of a “Galicianization” of Ukraine, referring to the multi-ethnic and multi-confessional character of the former Austrian crown land.

In Ukraine, the written word has an almost unimaginable meaning. The book is, so to speak, the materialized epitome of national culture, national conscience and has a long tradition. Writers play an enormous role as interpreters and mediators in Ukrainian society. The documentary aims to make use of this circumstance and to give a hearing to various writers. On the basis of their works and thoughts, we want to explore this contradictory yet culturally rich country, both literary and sociologically.