The War That Changed Rondo

Short Film/Book adaptation, Ukraine 2020

The small town of Rondo is home to Danko, Zirka, and Fabian, who enjoy a serene and contented life amidst the town's magical and cheerful atmosphere. Even the flowers sing. However, their idyllic existence comes to a screeching halt with the arrival of war. Based on the book of the same name, this film shows that the conflict has no heart and doesn’t understand any language, though it concerns everyone and leaves scars. But if you build a machine of light together and learn to sing despite all, then even the most fragile creatures will be able to survive and win. "The universal story deftly highlights the importance of each person doing their part to battle darkness. The descriptive, lyrical text realistically depicts the impacts of war, and the visual juxtaposition of an imaginative, bright, colorful world and its war-ravaged aftermath is stark. Collage elements convey fragility and resilience in surprising yet visceral ways... An expertly crafted story recognizing the power of humanity amid the life-altering tragedy of war." —STARRED REVIEW, Kirkus Reviews “Hold on to this radical idea: ‘The truth is that even the smallest ray of light will begin to disperse the darkness.’ Three friends, Danko, Fabian, and Zirka, love the town Rondo, which they call home. It is an idyllic place, famous for its greenhouse and the singing flowers that grow inside… Mixed-media illustrations are neatly situated across the pages like diagrams and maps, giving this fantastical, allegorical story a calm sensibility. Then War comes, and the pages turn dark as Rondo’s beauty is damaged. There is no explanation for the war, nor are culprits or reasons named, although an angry fist and recognizable war machinery give War a distinctly human aura. The three friends manage to save Rondo by uniting their unique skills, and despite some irreparable damage, peace is restored. This beautiful book has many layers for adults to unpack with young readers.” —Booklist “How War Changed Rondo, a picture book by the Ukrainian artists Romana Romanyshyn and Andriy Lesiv, captures the unrelenting destructiveness of wartime as a young person experiences it… Romanyshyn and Lesiv deploy a charming combination of drawing and collage, pasting in diagrams from botany textbooks and old newspapers. There is a fragility to the arrangement, which looks scattered on the page, and a fragility to their three main characters, [who] love their idyllic town and its most famous feature: flowers that sing. War obliterates all, seeding a thicket that blots out the sun… The book’s pages, shaded soft green and mustard yellow at first, turn the color of bruises, obsidian black and purplish gray. Danko, Fabian and Zirka dodge cutout bombs and tanks. Light must then defeat the dark… Rondo returns, but its famous multicolored flowers have been replaced by red poppies... It speaks so precisely to the perspective of a young person who has experienced the confusion of war.” —New York Times
16 min
Starting at 12
Audio language:
no dialogue

More information


Olha Havrylova


Romana Romanyshyn (Picture Book "The War that changed Rondo")

Andriy Lesiv (Picture Book "The War that changed Rondo")


Olena Golubeva

Original title:

Війна, що змінила Рондо

Original language:



16:9 HD, Color

Age rating:

Starting at 12

Audio language:

no dialogue