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moviesTHE TRIAL

THE TRIAL / 2018

SYNOPSIS

In 1930 in Moscow, USSR. the Soviet government puts a group of top rank economists and engineers on trial, accusing them of plotting a coup d'état. The charges are fabricated and the punishment, if convicted, is death.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

original title
ПРОЦЕСС [PROZESS]
english title
THE TRIAL
genre
documentary
country
Netherlands
year
2018
language
Russian
subtitle
English
color
b&w
runtime
129 min
sound
5.1
aspect ratio
1.37 : 1
film format
DCP - 2K

CREW

written & directed
Sergei Loznitsa
sound
Vladimir Golovnitski
editing
Danielius Kokanauskis
archive research
Vladilen Vierny
producer(s)
Sergei Loznitsa, Maria Choustova
production
Atoms&Void, Wild at Art
with the support of
ARTE France

Sergei Loznitsa over The TrialHugo Emmerzael, 2019-11-18, www.filmkrant.nl

Waarom sluiten de archiefbeelden van een wreed showproces uit de Sovjet- Unie van 1936 zo naadloos aan op de hedendaagse speelfilms en documentaires van Sergei Loznitsa? “Het is een onderzoek naar het leven als theater.”

An Extraordinary New Film Captures the Spectacle of Soviet Show Trialsby Massha Gesssen, 2019-01-15, www.newyorker.com

A palpable sense of randomness is Loznitsa’s singular accomplishment. As in the trial itself, there is no story in “The Trial”—only the spectacle of the transformation of people into totalitarian subjects.

First Look 2019: Donbass and The Trial by Daniel Witkin, 2019-01-11, www.reverseshot.org

The lifeless choreography makes for the starkest contrast with the darkly anarchic Donbass. While cameras and their operators occupy a privileged position in Putin’s info-war, here we can imagine the figure behind the camera being as frightened as all the rest, anxiously determined not to fuck up or else.

Trial Runsby Tony Pipolo, 2019-01-09, www.artforum.com

To hear them refuse to defend themselves, confessing error, and begging for mercy is to witness the full, terrifying, and repugnant effect of Stalinist ideology. In the tradition of propagandistic cinema, the dour proceedings indoors are sporadically interrupted by footage of hysterical mobs marching in the streets and demanding death for the “imperialist betrayers” of the glorious working class on “trial” inside.

The Trialby Lawrence Garcia, 2018-09-06, www.cinema-scope.com

What the industrious Belarus-born director has created is a profoundly (and productively) contradictory object that resists easy topicality: a fastidiously researched, nonfiction account of a fastidiously composed fiction, and hence a canny inversion of the courtroom drama template.

Toronto: Wavelengths Preview — "We Do Not Care if We Go Down in History as Contrarians"by Michael Sicinski, 2018-09-05, www.mubi.com

While Loznitsa is to be commended for his dedication to the process and absolute fidelity to the record, the film is a bit back-loaded, since it is only through the final revelations of the trial that much of what we have been listening to comes to be understood.

UK Premiere of Sergei Loznitsaʼs The Trial at the ICAby Jagger Biggs , 2019-10-02, www.russianartandculture.com

The 1930 show trial was a staged spectacle, revolving around a crime fabricated by the OGPU. It is a fine example of the harrowingly calculated propaganda the early Soviet government used to try and change the mentality of an entire population.

De ideale beklaagdenby Angela Dekker, 2019-11-20, www.groene.nl

De Oekraïense filmmaker Sergei Loznitsa maakte met het archiefmateriaal van twee sovjetpropagandafilms twee documentaires: The Trial, over het stalinistische showproces uit 1930, en State Funeral, over Stalins staatsbegrafenis in 1953.

festivals & awards

  • Venice Film Festival
  • Toronto International Film Festival
  • Mar del Plata International Film Festival
  • Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
  • DOK Leipzig
  • Melbourne International Film Festival
  • Busan International Film Festival
  • Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival
  • Cinéma du Réel
  • Seville European Film Festival
  • Hong Kong International Film Festival
  • Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival
  • Viennale
  • Bilbao International Festival of Documentary and Short Films