In 2018, director Sergei Loznitsa made Donbass, about the unrest in eastern Ukraine. Much of the current Russian invasion is currently going on in the region where Loznitsa's film is set, and as in the film, the civilian population is now the main casualty. Cinema Sphinx will re-release the film in their theaters from March 2, in collaboration with Imagine Films, as an expression of support for the people of Ukraine. You can watch the film all throughout March (playing hours are renewed every week). If you have no time to spare, you can also simply purchase a ticket: the entire revenue of these screenings will be donated to the Red Cross. no. 53 0000 0000 5353 (opened for the crisis in Ukraine).
The Donbass mining area is Ukrainian, according to the political atlas, but the Russians do not share this view: after Crimea, the Donbass seems to be inexorably moving towards a Russian-speaking secession. Under Loznitsa’s keen gaze, the Donbass “war” is a breeding ground for lies, for sham posturing, for propaganda and fake news. This “survival manual” sheds light on the region from a new angle, laying bare the reality of what is a civil war in all but name.
After the screening in Cannes in 2018, film critic Daniel Kasman wrote; ““Tell me the truth, who hired you?” screams a woman at the captured “volunteer,” continuing a theme throughout Donbass – and in fact bookending the film in what seems a suggestion of cyclical war but then reveals a far more sinister conclusion – of actors, performances, journalism, filming, and fiction. Just how much of the basis of this conflict is fictive, Donbass asks, not just in details of fake news but in a greater sense of people playing roles to obtain and maintain power? This suggestion, and the film itself, comes as if from the front lines, which creates an ambivalent contradiction between Loznitsaʼs bracingly of-the-moment “reporting” and his filmʼs tone of resigned weariness. A film at once electric and morose, Donbass serves as a guide to the malignant darkness shrouding over the eastern part of the Ukraine: fiction filmmaking with combative intent and a powerful sense of necessity.”1
- 1. Daniel Kasman, “Cannes 2018. Correspondences #3: Weed in Colombia, War in Ukraine,” MUBI Notebook, 11 May 2018.