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.
Films of the Week: Cannes Week 2 – Russian Storiesby Jonathan Romney, 2017-05-26, www.filmcomment.com
It depicts the Russian experience as an intersection between Dostoevsky and Kafka, although that doesn’t quite begin to capture its extremity—or suggest the redeeming grain of hope that, despite everything, its heroine embodies. Loznitsa’s film is the one competition entry in Cannes this year that I absolutely want to see again—and not just for the moments that sleep made me miss.
'A Gentle Creature' ('Krotkaya'): Film Review | Cannes 2017by Leslie Felperin, 2017-05-25, www.hollywoodreporter.com
Only tenuously related to the Dostoyevsky story of the same name and the 1969 film adaptation of that source material by Robert Bresson, this harrowing tale revolves around a stoical unnamed woman (Vasilina Makovtseva) stuck in a nightmarish Siberian prison town.
A Gentle Creatureby Giovanni Marchini Camia, 2017-05-25, www.thefilmstage.com
“Man is a wolf to his fellow man,” quotes a character early in Sergei Loznitsa’s A Gentle Creature. The ordeal suffered by its protagonist will indeed be solitary, poor, nasty, and brutish – it won’t be short, however.
A Gentle Creature – first look reviewby David Jenkins, 2017-05-25,
This inevitably makes for dreary and punishing cinema, a film that will have you leaving the auditorium with head slung low. Makovtseva is low-key excellent in the lead, somehow remaining completely mysterious and blank at a character, but doing just enough so that you pine for her to survive the next violent encounter. Yet the film is something of a bust, and its conceited dedication to despair presents a world which feels wholly disconnected from reality.
Toronto 2016: ‘Austerlitz,’ ‘Denial’ return to the scene of Nazi crimesby Justin Chang, 2016-09-16, www.latimes.com
Like so many patient, observational documentaries of its kind, the movie continually inspires at least two different, not always conflicting impulses: The temptation to get lost in the image is overwhelming, even as your attention is continually being refreshed and stimulated by the flood of tourists passing before the camera.
Film Review: ‘Austerlitz’by Guy Lodge, 2016-09-15, www.variety.com
A disconnect is silently but scorchingly addressed in Ukrainian director Sergei Loznitsa’s ingeniously simple, mesmerising documentary — a vital entry in the growing chapter of cinema evaluating the Holocaust’s present-day legacy.
TIFF Critic’s Notebook 4: Austerlitz, Planetarium, Trampsby Vadim Rizov, 2016-09-11, www.filmmakermagazine.com
It helps that the film is immaculate crafted and perversely non-commercial: with its long, long shots and sparse dialogue, this is a film that can’t be easily flipped and sold for a tidy profit in the vein of numerous putatively “powerful” Holocaust docs that do all the moral calculus for audiences via talking heads and archival footage. Austerlitz’s people-watching pleasures are complicated but don’t resolve in any one direction.
Austerlitz – first-look reviewby Nick James , 2016-09-10, www.bfi.org.uk
As we gradually get to eavesdrop on the remarkably trenchant tour guides who fill in the grim historical background – with the microphones picking up camera bleeps and passing phrases from somewhere within the range of each deep-focus shot – we can see that the place does have a sombre, sobering emotional effect on many… What one collects by the end is a rounded portrait of humanity, and, somehow, one of hope, despite the ghastliness of human crimes and the need to revisit them.
'Austerlitz': Venice Reviewby Jonathan Romney, 2016-09-07, www.screendaily.com
Loznitsa offers a sobering vision of how even a World War Two concentration camp can essentially become a theme park, leaving the realities of history and suffering obscured rather than available for understanding. This fascinating but demanding slow burner could equally find a place in serious TV arts slots and on the gallery circuit.
Austerlitz (Sergei Loznitsa, Germany) — Wavelengthsby Michael Sicinski, 2016-09-07, www.cinema-scope.com
With Austerlitz, Loznitsa may have produced his finest film yet. Exhibiting a simplicity and intellectual acuity that is far too rare in the field of documentary, Loznitsa has created a film whose cumulative impact will stay with you long after you watch it, tinting and shading the way that you experience a multitude of previously ordinary cultural practices.
'Austerlitz': Venice Reviewby Neil Young, 2016-06-09, www.hollywoodreporter.com
Human tones, bird cries, church bells, the rising and falling wind, insectoid whirrings, unidentifiable creakings and crashings… all combine into an immersive, often chilling and always compelling world of sound, which manages to subtly convey the lurking horrors beneath Sachsenhausen’s mute, neutral surfaces. We are, to use a phrase from the Sebald novel, “like a deaf man whose hearing has been miraculously restored.”