AUSTERLITZ / 2016
There are places in Europe that have remained as painful memories of the past - factories where humans were turned into ash. These places are now memorial sites that are open to the public and receive thousands of tourists every year. The film’s title refers to the eponymous novel written by W.G. Sebald, dedicated to the memory of Holocaust. This film is an observation of the visitors to a memorial site that has been founded on the territory of a former concentration camp. Why do they go there? What are they looking for?
'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.”
'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 – 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.
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.
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.
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.