Ukraine, Germany, France, Netherlands, Romania


Ma.Ja.De Filmproduktions-GmbH & others


110 min


Sergei Loznitsa


Sergei Loznitsa


Oleg Mutu


Heorhii Deliiev, Natalia Buzko, Tamara Yatsenko, Hryhorii Masliuk, Olesia Zhurakovska, Borys Kamorzin, Yevhen Chepurniak, Thorsten Merten, Petro Panchuk, Vadym Dubrovskyi, Aleksandr Zamuraev, Nina Antonova

A kaleidoscope of stories about the war in the Donbas: extras participate in a news story for a propagandist news TV-channel; local deputies are defaming each other; militants conduct pointless searches at checkpoints; field commanders pose for European journalists; civilians complain about life in a bomb shelter and later tie a Ukrainian volunteer to a pole of shame. The film ends with a lurid gangster wedding celebration.

The most interesting aspect of the mosaic plot by Director Loznytsia is the method of its creation. The script for the film was based on Youtube videos from “DNR” and “LNR”, and the film itself was a reenactment of those videos by professional actors. This helped to shift the film’s focus from a political and tragic understanding of the Ukrainian-Russian war to a speculative dimension and a study of post-truth. Director Loznytsia shows how the war is portrayed and embellished and how new elites are established in the occupied territories. And all of this is seen through the lens of ridiculous media cliches.

The Ukrainian audience generally criticized the movie, mostly because of its dehumanization of the people living in the temporarily occupied territories of Donbas. From Loznytsia’s point of view, he was trying to show the weakness of societal structure when met with the pressures of barbarism. 

As with the film Maidan (2014), the Donbas film by Loznytsia, filmed in Kryvyi Rih, became a kind of compendium of the war in Eastern Ukraine for the global viewer.