A Bit of a Stranger

The filmmaker Svitlana was born in Mariupol during Soviet times. In her film, she looks at the experiences of four generations of women, including her own, and examines how Moscow’s long-standing imperial policies have robbed them of their national identity. Each new generation in Svitlana’s family is more Russified than the last. But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine shatters the Russian part of all their identities and forces them to find another. Svitlana’s daughter flees to London with her child and falls into an existential crisis there. Despite the loss of her home in Mariupol, Svitlana’s mother calmly parts way with her Soviet-Russian past. Svitlana herself examines the colonised part of her consciousness and tries to find answers to the question of what impact Soviet totalitarianism and Russification have had on the relationships within her family.
by Svitlana Lishchynska
with Svitlana, Valentina, Alexandra, Stefania
Ukraine / Germany / Sweden 2024 Ukrainian, Russian, English 90’ Colour & Black/White World premiere | Documentary form


  • Svitlana
  • Valentina
  • Alexandra
  • Stefania


Director Svitlana Lishchynska
Screenplay Svitlana Lishchynska
Cinematography Petro Tsymbal, Krystyna Lizohub, Ivan Fomichenko, Vlad Dergunov, Maryna Svitlychna, Denis Strashnyi, Petrusyak Roman, Anja Zhukova, Shaun Holder, Jasleen Kaur Sethi, Jack Bradley, Jack Laurenson
Editing Svitlana Lishchynska, Anja Zhukova
Sound Design Erik Clauss
Sound Nataliia Avramenko
Producer Anna Kapustina
Co-Producers Fredrik Lange, Kristina Börjeson
Co-Production ZDF Berlin
Vilda Bomben Film Göteborg
Film i Väst Trollhättan

Produced by

Svitlana Lishchynska

Born in Mariupol in 1970, she worked for over 25 years for the leading television channels in Ukraine. In 2014, she opened a new chapter in her life by leaving television and immersing herself in screenwriting and filmmaking. Her first documentary works were short pieces for the Invisible Battalion anthology film in collaboration with the directors Alina Gorlova and Iryna Tsilyk. A Bit of a Stranger is her debut feature-length documentary and is based on her personal story.


2017 Invisible Battalion; short documentary 2019 The Treasures of Verona; documentary 2020 Ballroom King; documentary 2022 Mariupol. Reconstruction; medium-length documentary 2024 A Bit of a Stranger; documentary

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2024