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Donbass 15 rating

Disturbing, prophetic look at division and occupation in eastern Ukraine, from the director of In the Fog.

Drama 2018 121 mins

Director: Sergei Loznitsa

Overview

Made long before the Russian invasion of 2022, Sergei Loznitsa’s anti-war film was initially billed as the darkest of black comedies, but now feels very different. After watching amateur videos online, Loznitsa constructed his own screenplay, referencing the format of TV reports and the frequent construction of ‘fake news’. Told in 13 chapters, it’s enthusiastically acted, often deliberately theatrical and grotesque.

There is no attempt to ‘explain’ the film’s incidents which focus on the human reactions and prejudices underlying political extremes. The most disturbing scene finds a ‘traitor’ tied to a post, abused and beaten to death. It’s all brilliantly – if harrowingly – imagined, with stunning imagery courtesy of expert cinematographer Oleg Mutu.