The Event: Ukraine, year zero?
by Gonzalo Suárez
- VENICE 2015: After Maidan, Sergei Loznitsa travels to the Lido with a new documentary using footage, this time about the dissolution of the USSR
The shadow of Maidan [+see also:
film profile] is extended at the 72nd Venice International Film Festival: a few days ago, we were comparing the movie by Sergei Loznitsa with the way in which Evgeny Afineevsky decided to tackle the protests that shook Ukraine in the winter of 2013 and 2014 in Winter on Fire [+see also:
film profile]; now, however, it's inevitable that we will view Loznitsa's next film, The Event [+see also:
film profile] (screened, like Winter On Fire, out of competition) as a continuation of the work undertaken in the documentary about Euromaidan.
The Event takes us back to the events that led to the dismantling of the USSR and the advent of a new Russia governed by Boris Yeltsin. Loznitsa, in fact, immerses himself once again in period image and sound archives in order to give an account of the watershed moments in 1991 in Moscow and especially Saint Petersburg. These are offered in doses marked by fade-ins and music from the famous waltz of Swan Lake, a work that was repeatedly broadcasted during those tense months by the media opposing Gorbachov in place of official news. As was the case with Maidan, the director achieves an impeccable artistic finish, as if the images were really his own, which offsets for viewers who are not already well-informed about the sequence of events the challenge of keeping up with the historical storyline.
The two latest documentaries by Loznitsa reverberate in the current situation of Ukraine like an exploration of the recent past that aims to shed light on the depths of a conflict that is still far from being resolved. In this way, being more informative, the movie doesn't work as well as, for instance, The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu [+see also:
film profile]. Fleeting inquiries on screen, a glimpse of Putin, observing the similarities between the Ukrainians who fought in 2014 and the Russians who ventured out onto the streets in 1991: a scant reward for those who are looking for something more than an interesting aesthetic rationale in this documentary.
(Translated from Spanish)