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3.3
142 Ratings

Austerlitz

Directed by Sergei Loznitsa
Germany, 2016
Documentary

Synopsis

From Sergei Loznitsa (Maidan, The Event), a stark yet rich and complex portrait of tourists visiting the grounds of former Nazi extermination camps, and a sometimes sardonic study of the relationship (or the clash) between contemporary culture and the sanctity of the site.

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Austerlitz Directed by Sergei Loznitsa
Towards the end, a female tourist poses for a photograph in front of what was once used as a crematorium. She smiles at her boyfriend…, her arms outstretched as if she is claiming this space as her own. It is one moment among many that highlights the striking tension in Loznitsa’s film, between the faces of tourists wandering through the concentration camp memorials at Sachsenhausen and Dachau, and the absent faces of the millions who were slaughtered at both sites during the Holocaust.
September 20, 2017
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Perhaps Loznitsa’s restrained sobriety won’t be to the tastes of viewers who desire a slightly more forceful directorial voice in their filmmaking. Yet it is precisely the director’s economy and calm before this loaded historical subject that makes Austerlitz all the more powerful, allowing the vagaries of past and present to unfurl fugue-like in counterpoint before our eyes. It is a worthy addition to a body of work that has continued to trace the contours of loss, memory and history.
June 11, 2017
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It is truly remarkable how a static camera can capture people randomly arranging themselves in very artful compositions. A bridge over a closed-up half-square is empty as a lone figure positions herself in front of the sealed opening to listen to the explanation of what she is seeing on the handset… She must stand in place until it is finished as the bridge fills up with tourists moving in either direction. We, then, are the observers of a pure abstraction of disquieting beauty.
March 21, 2017
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