The long-awaited movie, The Numbers (Nomery in Ukrainian) is based on the first play written by Oleg Sentsov in 2011, before his imprisonment. The Ukrainian filmmaker, writer and activist, was arrested in 2014 and charged by the Russian state with plotting terrorist acts in the annexed Crimea, his homeland. He finalised the text while detained in the Lefortovo remand centre in Moscow. The idea of making a full-length feature came up in 2018, at the Odessa International Festival pitch session. Producer Anna Palenchuk presented Sentsov’s letter expressing his intention to take part in co-producing while being behind bars.
Akhtem Seitablayev, the second director in the tandem, helped the team to implement the project on the shooting stage – Oleg and Akhtem discussed the working process in a hundred letters. As the movie was developed, Sentsov went on a hunger strike that lasted 145 days. In 2019, he was finally released in a prisoner swap.
The Numbers is a dystopian film about a society of prisoners who try to overcome their fears and gain freedom. In the world of Numbers, everyone obeys the strict system and the supreme ruler named Zero. Ten characters have got accustomed to running in circles and doing everything under the rulebook. They never choose how to live and who to love. However, life changes when a new inmate joins the ranks. He is not aware of the current laws. Suddenly, the Numbers’ unshakable faith falls to pieces.
The film premiered at Berlinale in February 2020 and received positive reviews from guests and critics. In Ukraine, The Numbers was showcased at the 11th Odessa International Festival that was held online. It will be the closing film of the 4th Kharkiv MeetDocs Film Festival, on 31 October.
The movie will hit national cinema theatres starting from 19 November. Be sure to purchase a ticket.