Bernard-Henri Levy Documents The Summer Counter-Offensive

Arts & Celebrities

As other recent news events become top of mind, we cannot forget Ukraine. To remind us of both the heroism of those fighting for Ukraine, the success they have had, and the brutality and criminality of Russia’s invasion, Bernard-Henry Levy, together with his team of co-director Marc Roussel, special advisor Gilles Hertzog and producer Emily Hamilton, has now made their fourth documentary of on-the-ground reporting in Ukraine, Glory to the Heroes, shot during last summer’s Ukrainian counter-offensive.

What struck me is how necessary documentaries like Levy’s are. Today, we get our information in short bursts of live updates on social media, from a cycle of repeated reports on broadcast media and our favored news sources. No matter how much news we consume a day, it is a different experience to watch a 90-minute film where we view the devastation firsthand – where we are embedded with Ukrainian troops on the front line as they use their limited resources and weapons to push back the Soviet offensive.

Ukraine, since the 2014 Maidan Revolution has become a particular obsession of Levy’s. He has returned and made film after film in support of a democratic and free Ukraine. Some of the troops and commanders he encounters he has met before, a few of whom over the course of the war, have risen in rank and responsibility. They greet him as a friend, and we see the mutual respect as the Ukrainians prosecute their war and Levy documents it.

Levy is passionate about Ukraine because he recognizes it as a rubicon, as the bulwark against Putin’s anti-democractic, anti-European, anti-Western expansionism for Greater Russia.

In Glory to the Heroes, Levy takes us to Kherson where the Russians destroyed a dam that flooded the city creating an environmental disaster. We are with Ukrainian forces on the front lines on the Eastern front, in Bakhmut and Klichiiva, in Pokrovsk, Druzhika and Kramatorsk. We are in Kharkiv in the North and Odessa in the South. For us, as viewers, the locations may change but the reality is the same: The Ukrainians are David holding off Goliath, using small drones, and their few tanks and missiles batteries to push back against the Russians – or at least hold them to a standstill. Levy also visits Jewish communities and synagogues in Dnipro and Zaporizhzhia where he puts to rest Putin’s canard of Ukraine’s antisemitism today or characterization of Ukrainians as Nazis.

Levy is one of greatest practitioners of what today is called advocacy journalism. He reports honestly, truthfully, but not impartially, not without a sense of right and wrong, not without a higher purpose to convince others to support a just cause – in this case, in support of Ukraine.

In our post-truth moment, when even the largest and best funded news organizations display their bias on a daily basis, Levy’s arguments on behalf of arming Ukraine with weaponry sophisticated enough and in a great enough quantity to make their campaign successful, seems all the more honest.

Glory to the Heroes will screen at New York’s Quad Cinemas on December 8, in Washington DC on December 9, in Los Angeles at the Landmark Theaters Sunset on December 10, in Philadelphia and Shoreline Washington on December 11, and in Chicago at Landmark’s Century Centre Cinema on December 18. Levy will do a short Q&A after the screenings in LA and Washington DC.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *