Sergei Loznitsa: Chronicle of Ten Years
by Ivan Kuznetsov
Sergei Loznitsa is a modern Ukrainian film director. Initially known as a documentary master, Loznitsa has also proven he can compete in the feature film segment. He is highly rated in Europe, Belarus and Russia.
Loznitsa was born in Belarus in 1964. His family moved to Kyiv, Ukraine, where Loznitsa graduated as a mathematician. At the age of 27 he decided to enroll in Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography in Moscow. After graduating with honors Loznitsa started working in Saint-Petersburg as a film director.
Loznitsa's first feature film My Joy (2010)
is a road movie that tells the story of an
ordinary driver Georgy who embarks on
a hazardous adventure with a flour truck. Loznitsa was able to skillfully reflect all
sides of Russian provincial life and show
how the post-traumatic effects of World
War II still haunt the Russian society.
My Joy became the first Ukrainian movie
to ever compete for the Palme d'Or at Cannes.
The prominent Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev called My Joy the best Russian-language film he had seen in a while.
The World War II stark drama In The Fog (2012) became Loznitsa's second feature film. It is based on a short story of the Soviet military novelist Vasil Bykov. Two Soviet partisans are ordered to take vengeance on a rural railway station worker named Sushenya. They believe that Sushenya turned in workers who had set a Nazi train bombing. The soldiers come to execute the traitor. However, at war things change quickly. At this point the narrative revelations start to unfold. The film also received a warm welcome in Cannes and became Loznitsa's signature work.
2014-2016 saw Loznitsa go back to his roots directing three political documentaries in a row. The first one, Maidan (2014) observes the Ukranian Euromaidan Revolution from different perspectives showing both peaceful parades and riots that took place in Kyiv in 2013 and 2014. His second documentary, The Event (2015) reflects the events of the 1991 Soviet coup. Loznitsa's third documentary about the Holocaust Austerlitz (2016) is devoted to the issue of the Nazi concentration camps.
In 2017, Sergei Loznitsa directed his third feature film A Gentle Creature which is based on a short story of the same name written by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Loznitsa elaborated on one man's struggle against the system. This motion picture is full of metaphors referred to the Russian prison system.
In 2018, Loznitsa shot the experimental
film Donbass inspired by the events
in The Donetsk Republic, Ukraine.
The director combined various genres
and used YouTube footage. The film
brought him the Un Certain Regard
award for Best Director in Cannes.

In his last documentary State Funeral (2019) the director explores the impact of Joseph Stalin's death on the nation.

Over the years Loznitsa has managed to develop and preserve his unique dark style and stay true to his principles.
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