A visit to “the world’s most hardcore gym!”
Kalchalka (2020) dir. Gar O’Rourke
This ten-minute doc is ostensibly about a Ukrainian outdoor community exercise park fashioned out of scrap metal, but it’s really a celebration of the human body in all its beauty and weirdness. Bare pecs hoist weight, hips gyrate, faces contort. We flex, we thrust, we kibitz, we assist. We try to sculpt better versions of ourselves. Irish director Gar O’Rourke stands at a distance to capture it and sees how the strange-looking exercise equipment pumps up the humor and ingenuity in the operation of our own fleshy machines.
This film has been making the rounds for obvious reasons of late. Please note a statement from the director’s vimeo page (which can be visited at the link above):
From the director (03/03/22):
Kachalka was made in Kyiv a couple of summers ago, in a moment in time which seems a far cry away from the tragedy which is currently taking place. Although this film shows a very different reality to what we are currently seeing in Kyiv and around the rest of Ukraine, I hope this short film helps to shine a light on the Ukrainian spirit and what makes it truly unique. The intention behind this film was to capture the incredible sense of community and ingenuity that exists at the heart of this Kyiv gym and I think this is something which speaks to the stories we are hearing from Ukraine in this present time.
If you are able to donate and support those who badly need assistance during this time, Ukraine Red Cross are doing incredible on the ground work – please donate if you can;
Ukraine Red Cross – redcross.org.ua/en/donate/