Directed by Sergei Loznitsa | Germany/Ukraine | 105 mins.
Though born in Belarus (then part of the Soviet Union), Sergei Loznitsa has gone on to assume his position as the Ukraine’s preeminent filmmaker, internationally recognized as a crucial artistic voice and immensely controversial in his homeland. Loznitsa began as a documentarian, his stylistically radical work often presenting viewers with something like an otherworldly ethnography, and though continuing to work in the non-fiction field up to the present day, he has since My Joy in 2010 made waves internationally with a series of intense and timely narrative features. Donbass is the latest and perhaps most provocative; a highly episodic experiment set in Russian-occupied eastern Ukraine, merging unflinching social observation and dark absurdist humour. As regards to its episodic nature and its general irreverence, Loznitsa has spoken in interviews about the influence on the film of Luis Buñuel’s The Phantom of Liberty. Approaching its milieu from a multiplicity of angles, often employing long unbroken takes of tremendous technical virtuosity, Donbass exposes a split world driven by rage and compromised by the institutionalization of misinformation.
- Written by Jason Wierzba