Winter. Bus stop in a small village. People are waiting for a bus. They talk. Listening to their conversations the viewer can imagine the world they live in. United by the movement of the camera, the whole place and the people blend together.
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Not Sergei's masterpiece but somewhere near. However a very sophisticated approach to make sense of the mundane. The poetry hidden in the ordinary everyday forgettable landscape of any small town. Lack of resources and amenities but not lack of humanness. Hovering like an invisible eye, Sergei's camera silently lets the landscape and its people tell their own story.
A remarkable technical achievement, but crucial to the film's success is that the visual style meshes with a patient observation of human figures in a landscape that is indifferent, familiar and yet oddly hostile.
This one is a fascinating experiment, w/ a more explicitly conceptual underpinning conceit than is even typical of Loznitsa. Results in what for me is supremely compelling viewing both in the anthropological sense and the sensorial one. Very clearly appears to reference Akerman's FROM THE EAST, but approaches the subject matter w/ a sequence of roving pans, thus also invoking Snow's LA RÉGION CENTRALE. Fascinating.
Yet again, Loznitsa creates something special and unique... I'd describe it as an intelligent observation, but then it goes beyond that, beyond a documentary, and wanders into a surreal territory, doing so in a very subtle, mysterious way.
A splendidly enigmatic piece where the inhabitants of a village provide the wintry landscape of the title. An interminable sequence of pans across chapkas and cold-reddened faces, overlaid with random snatches of conversation. The film plays a shrewd trick, offering the illusion of omniscience to the viewer while simultaneously keeping them at a distance. A film about the very limits of knowing.
How amazing is the power of the persistent gaze of Loznitsa's camera ! The hynoptic panoramic shots, steady and insistent, gradually build up a kind of physical sensation ! We feel the cold, the frustration, the fatigue of the people waiting for the bus. Then when the bus arrives, the struggle and then the final surrender.