Agitprop gets a bad rap because the word is so redolent of Bolshevism, but it also connotes spirited advocacy, and that is an apt was to describe Slava Ukraini, a new and powerful documentary by the French writer and philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy. The film, a sequel to one he released last October, Why Ukraine?, was shot in late 2022 at a heady turning point when Ukrainian forces were forcing Russians to retreat and liberating occupied cities like Kherson, near the Black Sea.
These are emotional victories with a bitter lining. Citing, as is his wont, Malraux’s Man’s Fate and Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate, Henri Lévy mournfully records the signs of death, destruction, and suffering that he witnesses as he travels with Ukrainian troops.
This was his sixth visit to Ukraine since the Russian invasion in February 2022, and his message has not wavered even as foreign policy experts today worry that Ukraine is running out of time and matériel.
Will the West accept that “our self-interest, no less than our honor, commands that we continue to arm Ukraine and accompany her toward the surrender of a master terrorist?,” Lévy asks. His film seeks to persuade the faint of heart and makes a strong case.
Slava Ukraini will play at selected theaters beginning May 3
Alessandra Stanley is a Co-Editor of AIR MAIL. She will be in conversation with Bernard-Henri Lévy following a screening of Slava Ukraini at New York’s Quad Cinema on Wednesday, May 3 at seven P.M.