Close Up

1 - 30 July 2023: Blockade, Landscape & Revue: 3 Films by Sergei Loznitsa


Sergei Loznitsa, 2005, 52 min

The longest siege during World War II was that of Leningrad, which lasted for 900 days, from September 1941 to January 1944, when Hitler attempted to starve the Soviet city of three million people into submission. Estimates of the number of residents who died from starvation, disease or cold range from 641,000 to 800,000. Comprised solely of rarely seen footage found in Soviet film archives, Blockade vividly re-creates those momentous events, featuring a meticulously reconstructed, state-of-the-art soundtrack added to the original black-and-white silent footage.


Sergei Loznitsa, 2003, 60 min

Winter. People are waiting for a bus in the Russian town of Okulovka. They talk. Listening to their conversations, the viewer is immerged in the world they live in. United by the movement of the camera, the whole place and the people blend together. Reminiscent of the work of Michael Snow and of Chantal Akerman in D’Est (1992), Landscape is an absorbing documentary showing both the people waiting for a bus and the atmosphere of this wintery wait, the tensions and worries featured in discussions recorded separately from the image, resulting in a poignant and often funny documentary.


Sergei Loznitsa, 2008, 83 min

In Revue, Sergei Loznitsa researched footage from the 1950s and 1960s, selecting excerpts from newsreels, propaganda films, TV shows and feature films that present a portrait – in images – of Soviet life during the same period. The film's fascinating flow of disparate scenes representing a certain idea – and ideal – of Soviet life, appear, from today's perspective, as alternately poignant, funny, and tragic. The cumulative impact reveals a life of hardship, deprivation, and seemingly absurd social rituals, but one always inspired by the vision, or illusion, of a communist dream.