The tryzub (trident) is the national symbol of Ukraine. It was likely introduced by the first leader of the Ukrainian People’s Republic, Mykhailo Hrushevsky. The symbol was lifted from the symbols of princes of the Old Rus, that were familiar to the historian, Hrushevsky. Since Ukraine is an amalgam of historically unrelated territories, a neutral symbol of deep antiquity was chosen.
The issue here is not so much that the new powers that be in Ukraine will defund but that the Ukrainian government pisses away millions of hryvnias for films that never made the money back. And this would not be the worst, Ukraine is a poor place and the people cannot afford to go to cinema very often, so the box office may not be successful with every film. The film performs a propaganda service, and should help promote the Ukrainian language in theory. But the question is whether the Ukrainian films are doing exactly this?
Above are the box offices of Ukrainian films last year. In red, the numbers indicate government support for the film. Let me quote some:
Codename “Banderas” is a film about the Donbass war, I call it “Pozyvnoy Pidoras”
It had a budget of 39.3 million HRN ($1.25 million USD), out of which 19,6 million HRN came from the government. It made 1,9 million HRN.
I was interested how much a ticket to see such a masterpiece costs in Kiev, and found out that it is 60 HRN. If you divide 1 900 000/60 = 31 666,6667. Basically, hardly anyone saw this shit.
Secret Diary of Symon Petlyura is a historical film about a Ukrainian separatist leader in the early twentieth century.
It had a budget of 47.2 million HRN ($1.5 million USD) and it gained only 1.1 million HRN in the box office. If you do the math, you will notice that almost nobody went to see this.
I personally hold a history degree and was never a fan of historical dramas, I also understand that people may be reluctant to see films about a war in a country where a simmering conflict is still raging. But it is not true that films cannot be commercially successful in Ukraine.
Spoiled Wedding (going as Crazy Wedding) is a comedy where a Ukrainian girl studying in France falls in love with a Frenchman but there is an issue… he is black.
Funny though but not very original, can be watched here with subtitles. It had a budget 10.8 million HRN, that is much less than the other two films named, out of which 1.1 million came from the state, and it made 46 million HRN in the box office.
Turns out, this is the 250 of Kotliarevsky. If you don’t know, who that was, he was a Ukrainian noble of Cossack elder origins, who in late eighteenth century was the first to attempt writing plays in the vernacular of the Poltava region, which would later be developed into the Ukrainian language.
Hardly anything was written in the vernacular before Kotliarevsky and the vernacular was always considered low status. This is a perennial source of much of low self esteem among Ukrainians.
And this is why the first work in the vernacular was a piece of burlesque poetry named Aeneid: Rewritten in the Little Russian Language. Kotliarevsky actually first wrote a similar piece in Russian but thought it would be funny to render it in the language of the common folk.