Mutation of social hell: “Donbass” Sergei Loznitsa

The main festival of Ukrainian cinema

“Donbass” Sergei Loznitsa — the main Ukrainian festival film this year. The premiere took place in may of 2018 at the opening program of the Cannes international film festival “Special look”, where the drama came piping hot, because its the shooting ended only in the second half of March.

They say that if the film was ready a few months earlier, Cannes took him into a major international competition where a year earlier, the premiere of “Meek” by Sergei Loznitsa, in which the Director has studied the reclusive everyday reality of the Russian countryside. In “Donbass” it demonstrates how this social hell is spreading and mutating in the Ukraine, taking on the form of hybrid war.

The “Special opinion” by Sergei Loznitsa said of the best Director award. And after the Cannes reviews of the “Donbass” has appeared in leading international journals devoted to cinema, the movie was shown at many festivals, including the main North American international film festival in Toronto, and the Ukrainian Oscar Committee has put forward it from Ukraine for “Oscar” in the category “Best foreign language film”.

See a modified reality

Such attention to the film due to the coincidence of several factors, both artistic and political. Speaking of Donbass, Sergei Loznitsa raises the topic, painful important and little known abroad. Especially in their details and the details that are on the verge (and sometimes beyond) to make any sense. It is not surprising that Western critics sometimes refer to the tape creepy surreal fantasy, not recognizing her authentic impression of reality.

At the same time, one of the leading topics raised by the “Donbass”, is the phenomenon of changing reality under the influence of forces that don’t only offer original interpretation of the events, but “artistic” form these events with almost “zero”, so that in the future, according to opinion “theorem”, formulated by William Thomas, is a situation that people have, even wrongly identified as real become real in its consequences.

In the case of what is happening in the Donbas and Donbass are the consequences of bloody. Mosaic observations

The formation of “incorrect” reality dedicated to the first and last scenes of the drama associated with the activities of the Russian production group that creates fake news stories about the atrocities of the Ukrainian army. They become a kind of frame in which to set the rest of the episodes showing different aspects of the disintegration of social structures and the collapse of a moral compass, which for similar stories follow.

These episodes are United by territory, theme and meaning, but lack character as such, which makes the observation of them — and so uncompromisingly painful — additionally uncomfortable.

Sergei Loznitsa creates on the screen is fundamentally unheroic human multi-figure composition in which the background — as in his mathematically precise documentary paintings — often plays a more important role.

On the screen show “security forces” involved in extortion, “officials”, urging employees looted the hospital that it is necessary to show only that brought back the “Potemkin” wealth, “local” militias, who do not know the name of the village , where got local now local residents stranded propaganda over the Ukrainian prisoners of war. And at the same time, air — RAID shelters, where these locals live. Between the document and satire

Forty years ago the French Director Jean Eustache directed a short film “a Dirty story”, in which racy anecdote was presented with documentary interviews with his immediate party and at the same time artistically re-created by the actor, who repeated the same text. Sergei Loznitsa, in a certain sense, uses the “Donbass” similar — meticulous retelling of real events, but without additional reasoning audiovisual documents which, if desired, for most scenes you can find in YouTube.

However, the film goes beyond the simple reconstruction of reality, acquiring a satirical tone, through which the reality is as artistically as possible pointed.

This is evident in how Sergei Loznitsa gives the characters “speaking” names in the scene of arrival in the “new Russia” of the “clergy” of icons and relics, and — especially — the stage of marriage, where the secular Soviet — ritual brought to entertaining absurdity.

But also this sharp look, paradoxically, embodied in the schematic and the endless repetition of the demonstration that filled the movie. For example, playing the same lines. Mechanically memorized and reproduced, they become convincing loud noise, meaningless. In particular, when one of the characters asked the other “look”, clearly alluding to the fact that they need to see.

A world that is artistically recreated in “Donbass”, thus, in the interpretation of Sergei Loznitsa, and is a result of production, and the participants who willingly, heartily and with pleasure, and I dutifully agree to play prescribed, depriving them of individuality, role. Only a few retain the spiritual courage of these inhuman regulations to resist.

Although a terrible result for most voluntary and indirect participants in this “staging” will be the same — repeatedly on the screen remind fire, “sobering” the minds of the viewers.

Everywhere Ukraine

Showing in the “Donbass” in the occupied Donbass, Sergei Loznitsa pays attention as well to the Ukraine beyond — albeit at a minimal level, but focusing on the fact that social structures are amenable to pathological deformation. This occurs in the scene of the meeting of the city Council, on which his head doused with sewage.

Such a form of political struggle, by the way, in Kiev used on October 17, doused feces under the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine people’s Deputy Sergey Kaplin. Distributor and co-producer of the picture, the company “Arthouse Traffic” will not suspect that it was an organized publicity stunt before the start of the “Donbass” in theaters. Rather, the situation should be regarded as another evidence of the insight of his Loznici, selected typical observations of life for his film.

The picture, taken in Ukraine with the Ukrainian actors (to re-create the human landscape of the Donbas would be simply impossible) is the result of his exceptional creative talent. At the same time — created in a complex co-production of Germany, Ukraine, France, the Netherlands and Romania international creative team.

In theaters “Donbass” will go to the international version, reflecting the modern linguistic polyphony of the region, understanding that the film and dedicated.