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The name of Ukrainian filmmaker Sergei Loznitsa is by now well known in the festival circuit, especially after his recent trio of masterful documentaries dealing with the effects of authoritarianism on individuals and societies, Maidan (2014), The Event (2015), and Austerlitz (2016), and his award-winning incursions in fiction territory My Joy (2010) and In the Fog (2012). With this special program we are proud to unearth his little seen early documentaries, a collection of films spanning all lengths and compounding Loznitsa’s powerful and enthralling vision of the post-Soviet era. These films explore the poetics of fundamental political notions such as time, space, work, and nationhood, and are testament to the filmmaker’s meticulously analytical relationship with History. But before becoming a key figure in the landscape of contemporary cinema, Loznitsa graduated as a mathematician and worked as an artificial intelligence scientist at the Kiev Institute of Cybernetics. Avid observer of reality and deeply committed to the power of the cinematic image in his quest for understanding humanity, Loznitsa believes in the possibility of new ways of expression to achieve new levels of meaning. In his own words: Film is a theorem that has to arrive at a final point.

Blockade

Sergei Loznitsa Russia, 2006

This hypnotic documentary tackles a traumatic episode of WWII with exquisite craft and outstanding historical conscience. By using pre-existing footage and reconstructing the entirety of the soundtrack, Loznitsa seems to be resurrecting the memory of a country to otherworldly effect. An achievement.

Life is too short for bad films

Every day we hand-pick a beautiful new film and you have a whole month to watch it, so there’s always 30 perfectly curated films to discover.