THE TRIAL / 2018
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.
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.
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
- Bilbao International Festival of Documentary and Short Films