• Sergei Loznitsa
  • Russia
  • 2005, 52 min
Script: Sergei Loznitsa
Photography: archive material
Editing: Sergei Loznitsa
Color: Black and white
Language: Russian

In 1941 almost three million people were living in Leningrad; in 1944 only half a million remained. Those who never managed to leave the city died of cold and hunger. This elegiac film by Sergei Loznica is based on archive materials and focuses primarily on the suffering of civilians. _ The authentic material was created by forty cameramen, whose task it was to record life in the city under siege. Owing to the naturalism with which their suffering is portrayed most of the footage was never used. _ People learn to live under siege, blacking out their flats and looking for food. The city gradually loses strength, trolley-buses cases to run, cars remain where they were abandoned when they ran out of gas. Death permeates everything; corpses are tied to sleighs and taken to mass graves. _ The rhythm of the film's editing follows the seasons, which cause a metamorphosis in the life the city's inhabitants. The film's rich soundtrack plays a fundamental role. The noise and gasps of a dying town are formed by archive sounds and by special sounds like the noise of a market today, accompanying the image of an execution at the end of the war. _ The nine-hundred-day blockade symbolises the strange metaphysics of war. People released from ideology fight for their lives: Loznica breaks a taboo and depicts the blockade as a model of devastation, whose ghostly, eerie qualities oppose the lingering heroic myth of the Great Patriotic War. Some Russian critics therefore have sharply rejected the film.

Photo Gallery

Festival edition: 2006
Sections: Special Events
Exhibition format: 35 mm
Subtitle languages: English


The leitmotif of this year’s edition of the Ji.hlava IDFF will be memory