In the near future in Ukraine, former soldier Sergey tries to recover from the trauma of war. When the foundry where he works closes down, he volunteers for Black Tulip, an organisation that recovers the bodies of fallen soldiers. This brings him into contact with archaeologist Katya, who is literally and metaphorically digging up the consequences of her own history.
Filmmaker Valentyn Vasyanovych's background as a director of photography, including on The Tribe (IFFR 2015), can clearly be felt. Using often static tableaux, he creates a beautiful, bleak mise-en-scène − full of raging fires, icy mud and grim snowscapes. Not only do the psychological consequences for Sergey and Katya become painfully clear, but also the economic degradation and above all the ecological catastrophe for the Donbass region, transformed into an uninhabitable desert of Chernobyl-like proportions. Atlantis presents an urgent, searing portrait of a Ukraine living with the disastrous consequences of the war with Russia: a Ukraine in crisis, verging on the apocalyptic.