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still from United We Stand (Musicians in Times of War) (David van Tijn, NL 2022)

United We Stand (Musicians in Times of War)

David van Tijn / NL, 2022 / 80 min.

Maya Fridman, a Russian cellist has – since the war started on 24 February 2022 – worked almost non-stop to support the Ukrainian people. She has collected hundreds of thousands of euros through her benefit concerts. Portrait of a musician taking a stand against Putin’s genocidal war.

poster Cello & Film: United We Stand (Musicians in Times of War)

That art and politics are not separate realms became apparent when Putin announced he wanted to wipe the sovereign state of Ukraine off the map and denied the existence of the Ukrainian culture. Ukrainians have to speak Russian and become part of Russia’s culture (again), and extreme violence will be used to achieve this.

Maya Fridman, a Russian cellist living in Amsterdam, has supported the Ukrainian people almost non-stop since 24 February 2022, together with predominantly Ukrainian and Russian musicians. Ukrainian pianist Anna Fedorova and percussionist Konstantyn Napolov and the world-famous Latvian cellist Mischa Maisky helped Fridman perform a series of benefit concerts.

The proceeds, over 200,000 euro after just a month, are intended for aid for Ukraine. Besides concrete support, the benefits also provide a sense of unity, comradeship and solidarity.


In United We Stand, documentary director David van Tijn follows Fridman and her musicians from the start of the war in Ukraine. Van Tijn filmed the preparations, rehearsals and concerts as well as interviewing a number of the musicians. He also filmed a meeting between Fridman and master pianist Evgeny Kissin, who, of all Russian musicians, has spoken out most sharply against Putin.

“This war first and foremostly takes aim at our culture, our history, identity, our right to exist,” says Konstantyn Napolov. “Putin wants to erase the Ukrainian people from history."

Hans Richter, dada and cello

Preceding the documentary’s festival première, Fridman will accompany a number of 1920s films by ‘Berliner’ Dadaist and pioneer of abstract art films Hans Richter, live with her cello. The films were recently restored by Eye. Films like Rhytmus 21, 23 and 25, Vormittagsspuck, Filmstudie and Zweigroschenzauber are still major inspirations to may artists. Dadaists in Berlin were politically active and — after the horrors of World War I — opposed all wars.

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David van Tijn

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Original title

United We Stand (Musicians in Times of War)


80 min.



Part of

Eye on Sound

With Eye on Sound, Eye focuses on the special relationship between image and sound. Expect live music to silent films, live bands from today to classics of yesteryear, brand new scores to films from the versatile Eye collection and special attention to the often neglected art of sound design.

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still from United We Stand (Musicians in Times of War) (David van Tijn, NL 2022)
still from United We Stand (Musicians in Times of War) (David van Tijn, NL 2022)
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