Sergey Loznitsa – Peyzazh (2003)

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Quote:
It begins with slow, 360 grade pans of a camera showing snowy countryside somewhere in Russia. The soundtrack has some natural voices.

The camera then is set at a bus stop in a Russian village. It continues to pan into the same direction, showing people waiting, talking to each other, drinking beer, staring, giving an occasional glance at the camera. The soundtrack is clearly from a different source than the pictures, but similar to the world of images. It has elderly people talking about their hard everyday life: sicknesses, alcoholism, dire poverty, violent drunken husbands, poor hospitals etc. etc. The voices curse, argue…

The people start gradually crowd into a full bus, they get in, and the buses leave. Continue reading

Sergei Loznitsa – Sobytie AKA The event (2015)

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Synopsis
In August 1991 a failed coup d’e´tat attempt (known as Putsch) led by a group of hard-core communists in Moscow, ended the 70-year-long rule of the Soviets. The USSR collapsed soon after, and the tricolour of the sovereign Russian Federation flew over Kremlin. As president Gorbachev was detained by the coup leaders, state-run tv and radio channels, usurped by the putschists, broadcast Tchaikovsky’s swan lake instead of news bulletins, and crowds of protestors gathered around Moscow’s White House, preparing to defend the stronghold of democratic opposition led by Boris Yeltsin, in the city of Leningrad thousands of confused, scared, excited and desperate people poured into the streets to become a part of the event, which was supposed to change their destiny. A quarter of a century later, Sergei Loznitsa revisits the dramatic moments of August 1991 and casts an eye on the event which was hailed worldwide as the birth of “Russian democracy.” What really happened in Russia in August 1991? What was the driving force behind the crowds on the Palace Square in Leningrad? What exactly are we witnessing: the collapse or the regime or its’ creative re-branding? Who are these people looking at the camera: victors or victims? Continue reading

Sergei Loznitsa, Cristi Puiu, Neil Young – Focus Sergei Loznitsa (panel discussion) (2014)

The 2014 Astra Film Festival’s Focus Loznitsa now presents his latest documentary Maidan, alongside three of his earlier works—The Train stop(2000), Landscape (2003) and Blockade (2005)—as well as a panel discussion related to the concept of “authorship” within film-making between Sergei Loznitsa and Cristi Puiu, moderated by Neil Young (film critic, UK).

Questions arising include:

* What happens when the texture of the film is composed of images recorded directly from the immediate mundanity of the world around us?
* What happens to the position of the filmaker as author engaged in an existential understanding of the world while, for example, shooting in the central square Kiev amid full revolutionary turmoil?
* Can the film-maker avoid or resist the direct expression of his/her own political stance?
* Cinema is established as a very strong medium and, throughout its history, has been misused as a dangerous means of mass manipulation, especially when the language of the film espouses and expresses a particular political position. What is the correct standpoint of a filmmaker as an author in this situation?
* What is the role of a filmmaker concerned with the controversies of a society undergoing dramatic transformation?

The panel discussion takes place after the screening of the film Maidan Continue reading

Sergei Loznitsa – Maidan (2014)

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Synopsis:
MAIDAN chronicles the civil uprising against the regime of president Yanukovych that took place in Kiev (Ukraine) in the winter of 2013/14.
The film follows the progress of the revolution: from peaceful rallies, half a million strong, in the Maidan square, to the bloody street battles between protestors and riot police. MAIDAN is a portrait of an awakening nation, rediscovering its identity. Continue reading

Sergei Loznitsa – Predstavleniye AKA Revue (2008)

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Sergei Loznitsa has once again scoured the Russian film archives for REVUE, selecting excerpts from newsreels, propaganda films, TV shows and feature films that present an evocative portrait of Soviet life during the 1950s and 1960s. With scenes taken from the length and breadth of the Soviet Motherland, REVUE illustrates industry and agriculture (dam construction, steel plants, Stakhanovite labor competitions, farmland seeded by hand and plowed with horse), political life (local elections, abundant Lenin iconography, speeches by Khrushchev, the threat of capitalist spies), popular culture (a village choir, a dance troupe, a travelling cinema, poetry readings for workers, a propagandistic stage play), and technology (space exploration, astronaut Yuri Gargarin, new industrial development). The film’s fascinating flow of disparate scenes representing typical Soviet life of the period is, seen from today’s perspective, alternately poignant, funny, and tragic. The cumulative impact reveals a life of hardship, deprivation and seemingly absurd social rituals, but one always inspired by the vision, or illusion, of a communist future. Seen from these dual historical and contemporary perspectives, REVUE is both a nostalgic and instructive look back at a communist past that represents social engineering on a grand, and frightening, scale. (icarus-films) Continue reading

Sergei Loznitsa – Peyzazh AKA Landscape (2003)

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Imdb user:

It begins with slow, 360 grade pans of a camera showing snowy countryside somewhere in Russia. The soundtrack has some natural voices.

The camera then is set at a bus stop in a Russian village. It continues to pan into the same direction, showing people waiting, talking to each other, drinking beer, staring, giving an occasional glance at the camera. The soundtrack is clearly from a different source than the pictures, but similar to the world of images. It has elderly people talking about their hard everyday life: sicknesses, alcoholism, dire poverty, violent drunken husbands, poor hospitals etc. etc. The voices curse, argue… Continue reading

Sergei Loznitsa – Poselenie AKA The Settlement (2001)

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Quote:
This visually arresting documentary about a strange community in the Russian countryside, shows residents of a rural settlement seemingly involved in everyday farm work — harvesting fields, chopping wood, working at a sawmill and maintaining the property. Yet, as the film evolves, the viewer comes to realize that the workers, are in fact, patients. Their daily chores serve only therapeutic purposes. Suffused with the sounds and rhythms of rural life, is the film a parable of post-Soviet society or simply a testament to the importance of nature in modern lives? Continue reading