In the first novella Zhorik tries to prove to his colleagues at work in a cheap shopping mall and to his neighbors that he can change and Europeanize the rotten-to-the-core system of municipal services in a few days’ time, all by himself. But it’s not so easy as it turns out. After Zhorik has become a regular of every possible public office, turned into his neighbors’ nemesis and lost his job, he realizes he is tilting at windmills, quickly loses heart and resolves to “become someone” in another way.
In the second novella our hero starts a job as a security guard at a contemporary art museum. That’s how Zhorik wants to combine business with pleasure by securing a decent pay and becoming, at last, a cultured and educated gentleman. Zhorik mobilizes his entire intellect to try and comprehend the meaning inscribed into the works by contemporary performers and artists. But the problem is that contemporary art as well as its guardians aren’t really prepared to become available to a guy next door. In total confusion about his life journey, Zhorik literally unburdens himself and sets on yet another path to a happy life in the capital.
In the third novella our hero finds a job and, as he believes, his lucky break, as a luxury drinking water delivery man. A simple provincial fellow, he finds himself among the blinking skyscrapers, luxury cars and classy people. Zhorik is naïve enough to believe that simply sharing a space with the elite will let him into society’s crème de la crème, as a peer to the most successful people in this world. So he tries one more time to master this life, the life of a successful big city dweller.
Get acquainted, this is Zhorik
Here’s Zhorik, a “common folk” guy. Naïve, a bit rude, but everyone’s pal. He comes from the country to the big city and thinks that two months are quite enough for him to deliver a fatal blow to the nation’s corruption and red tape, become a cultured gentleman, infiltrate the business elite, and conquer the heart of a most beautiful and high-maintenance lady. Main thing, as Zhorik says, “to figure it all out and then make a cash cow killing, like, real quick”.
Kyiv of our times
Kyiv is the film’s yet another leading character. It was this city which inspired the director to make the film, that’s why hardly any other city can be imagined as its setting.
Every year thousands of Zhoriks arrive here wearing rose-colored glasses and hoping to succeed and build their happiness here.
Kyiv is a city of contrasts
CEOs and blue collars walk here side by side. This city leaves no one cold, it either allows you to conquer it or conquers you.
A Hero of My Time is an attempt at examining and understanding of a present-day “small man” who lives here and now, builds their future without looking back at the past but often doesn’t know what happiness is. I don’t regard the characters of my films as strangers; I do identify with them. In this film I wanted to view a Ukrainian personality under a microscope, our weaknesses and flaws we so often keep in a closet. My film is an anthropological parable of sorts, a satire of an average contemporary East European person who is undergoing the process of “Europeanization”, putting forth “European values” but not yet quite able to let go of the post-Communist mentality which is rooted in them much deeper than it may seem at first glance. Of all East European countries, Ukraine reveals the Europeanization processes most vividly. My film might well be the first attempt at reflecting upon this process, with the humor that helped me be honest even about our least attractive sides.