Cannes 2018. Correspondences #3: Weed in Colombia, War in Ukraineby Daniel Kasman, 2018-05-11, www.mubi.com
A film at once electric and morose, Donbassserves 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.
Cannes 2018 Dispatch #2: Donbass, Petraby Blake Williams , 2018-05-11, www.filmmakermagazine.com
The experience is veritably nightmarish—an unforgiving wallow in images of humanity at its worst—and if I have any hesitation in declaring this, after a single viewing, to be a great, even monumental achievement, it’s generated by my uneasiness regarding Loznitsa’s decision to obfuscate many of his episodes’ political specificity.
Donbass first look: both too much and too little about the war in Ukraineby James Lattimer , 2018-05-10, www.bfi.org.uk
Yet the fascination exerted by these interstitial moments is largely a reflection of the misjudged nature of many of the episodes, which often either fail to make an impression or outstay their welcome, or even do both at the same time. The wearyingly shouty, over-extended wedding scene, for example, says at once too much and too little about the system that now governs the Donbass.
"Donbass": Cannes Reviewby Jonathan Romney, 2018-05-09, www.screendaily.com
Even by the standards of his caustic debut fiction feature My Joy (2010) or last year’s descent-into-hell drama A Gentle Creature, Donbass comes across as savage stuff. A sprawling black comedy with a vast ensemble cast, it evokes a chaotic state of social breakdown in the Donbass region of Ukraine, often with virtuoso brilliance, but it’s sometimes over-stretched vignettes can easily tax the overwhelmed viewer.
"Donbass": Film Review | Cannes 2018by Leslie Felperin, 2018-05-09, www.hollywoodreporter.com
Tackling a bloody struggle that these days barely registers in the media beyond the region itself, despite the fact that the shady Ukrainian connections to President Donald Trump and his cronies keep bobbing up in the news, the film feels timely and borne of deep-held despair at the senseless strife tearing the country apart.
“But It’s Not Real”: Rape As Metaphor In Sergei Loznitsa’s ‘A Gentle Creature’by Katie Goh, 2018-04-29, www.anothergaze.com
A Gentle Creature is a hell of infinitely repeated rapes for its protagonist, an unnamed woman played by Vasilina Makovsteva in present day Russia. Taking its name and inspiration from a Dostoyevsky novella, A Gentle Creature is as tediously grim as you’d expect.
The Fifth Edition of "Art of the Real" Offers Form-Bending History Lessonsby Ela Bittencourt, 2018-04-26, www.villagevoice.com
No selection this year is more steeped in history than Sergei Loznitsa’s Victory Day (2018). His blunt approach made his earlier Austerlitz (2016) stilted and scornful, but Loznitsa is less categorical in the new film.
A Tale of Two Festivals: International Film Festival of India and Experimentaby Parichay Patra, 2018-03-01, www.sensesofcinema.com
Loznitsa’s consistent movements between the apparent documentation of the “real” in non-fiction and the semblance of the real in the façade of a fictional universe bewilders everyone familiar with his canon, as he seems incorruptible, unperturbed by the onslaught of the festival circuit.
AFM/AFI FEST 2017: Magic Women, Haptic Menby Bérénice Reynaud, 2018-03-01, www.sensesofcinema.com
Vasilina Makovtseva is as quietly beautiful as Dominique Sanda and she exudes a similar, magic radiance even at the moment of her defeat. Through the fable of a woman looking for her incarcerated husband, Loznitza returns to his topic of choice: an evocation, bordering on the improbable and the surreal, of a long-time malaise in the countries of the former Soviet Union.
Time Loopby Ivan Chuviliaev, 2018-02-28, www.kinokultura.com
Although the subject of Victory Day is the celebration of 9 May (the day of the capitulation of Nazi Germany), the film is not about the past: its essence is in the present. The very title of the film is of current interest: Victory Day used to be a significant date for generations of Soviet and post-Soviet Russian citizens; not merely a holiday but an intimate memory ritual dedicated to those who remembered the war, suffered from the war or participated as soldiers.
Dubai International Film Festival 2017: A Gentle Creature, You Were Never Really Here, The Message, & Moreby Steve Macfarlane , 2017-12-22, www.slantmagazine.com
What really lingers is Losnitza’s skill as choreographer: Many of his scenes consist of long single takes starting from a seemingly innocuous in-point and slowly jostling both audience and heroine into the next phase of this punishing environment but never stopping the film’s flow to scream “bravura set piece.” The effect is enveloping, naturalistic, yet claustrophobic.
2006: Blockade (Sergei Loznitsa)Tatiana Efremova, 2017-12-01, www.sensesofcinema.com
Is it possible to tell the story of a besieged city without the trace of an epic? Can one capture the state of emergency without melodramatic excess? Recounting the Siege of Leningrad in 1941-44, Sergei Loznitsaʼs archival documentary Blokada (Blockade, 2006) brilliantly transcends both challenges.
A Gentle Creatureby Chloe Lizotte, 2017-10-17, www.reverseshot.org
It’s more of a destabilizing shock to the system than a call to arms, a confrontation with a broken state rather than a blueprint to rebuild it. It confirms Loznitsa as a master craftsman of the impeccably designed and crafted hellscape, politically charged and all-consuming. Although he takes a bombastic route to a horrific finale, it’s often the muted, wordless scenes that linger the most in the mind.
Catastrophes on ParadeBy Nicolas Rapold, 2017-08-01, www.filmcomment.com
Admittedly, one film that kept my eyes wide open might well fall into the category of cruel and unusual experiments. But Sergei Loznitsa gives his latest work, A Gentle Creature, a rude (in every sense) chaotic energy and a lunatic desperation that’s grimly comic when not stomach-churning.
What is the Cinema?: The 2017 Cannes Film Festivalby Daniel Fairfax, 2017-06-22, www.sensesofcinema.com
Among the highlights of the festival, Russian films featured prominently. Indeed, on the basis of the evidence at Cannes, if there is any nation that is still capable of producing resolutely cinematic works, it is the land that, one hundred years ago, was consumed in a revolutionary storm the effects of which we can still feel today.
Cannes Interview: Sergei LoznitsaBy Jordan Cronk, 2017-05-31, www.filmcomment.com
It’s at once Losnitza’s most furiously pitched and painstakingly constructed work to date, moving ahead with an appropriately methodical rigor even as it reaches heights of hallucinogenic madness in its final stretch. It’s a sobering and troubling vision, rendered in vivid strokes by a consummate thinker and master craftsman.
Cannes 2017. Russia's Prison System—Sergei Loznitsa's "A Gentle Creature"by Daniel Kasman, 2017-05-29, www.mubi.com
Deftly weaving between politically ambitious documentary projects and brooding, chunky dramas exploring the malignant side of Russian society, Ukraianian director Sergei Loznitsa follows Austerlitz, last year’s documentary on concentration camp tourism, with the fictional A Gentle Creature, an impressively morose, dense, and totalizing immersion into the dehumanizing absurdity of the Russian prison system.
‘A Gentle Creature,’ ‘Good Time’ and ‘You Were Never Really Here’ bring late highs to a middling competitionby Justin Chang, 2017-05-28, www.latimes.com
Unequivocally one of the toughest, darkest and longest movies playing in competition… It’s about as strange, perplexing and foreign an experience as any I’ve had at the Festival de Cannes, and the reasons that will limit its commercial viability are the very reasons that you should seek it out, if and when it arrives in your local art-house theater.