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Sergei Loznitsa starts production of Donbass

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- The director’s new film, produced by Germany, France, Ukraine, the Netherlands and Romania, will be sold by Pyramide

Sergei Loznitsa starts production of Donbass
Director Sergei Loznitsa (© M Petit/FDC)

Sergei Loznitsa has started the production of ihis fourth feature-length fiction film, Donbass. In competition at Cannes with his last three works of fiction (My Joy [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
 in 2010, In the Fog [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
 in 2012 and A Gentle Creature [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Sergei Loznitsa
film profile
]
 in 2017), the filmmaker, who cut his teeth in the world of documentaries, a genre that he has never abandoned (Maidan [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
 got a special screening at Cannes in 2014, while The Event [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
 and Austerlitz [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
 were shown out of competition at Venice in 2015 and 2016), will bring together both professional and non-professional actors in his new opus.

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Written by the director, the story is summed up as follows: when we call war "peace", when propaganda is presented as the truth, and when we call hate "love", it is then that life begins to look like death. Donbass survives. Manuel practises hell.

In his director’s note, the filmmaker outlines his film’s subject matter by relating it directly to a passage from the story Pain by Varlam Shalamov: “There is a hackneyed phrase: history repeats itself – the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce. No. There is still a third reflection of the same events, the same plot: a reflection in the concave mirror of the underground world. The plot is unimaginable and yet real; it really exists and is right next to us.”

In Loznitsa’s view, “It seems that these sentences are an exact description of the state of things in our territory, the one that was previously the Soviet Union, as well as the subject of the movie that I am preparing to shoot: the reflection of history in a distorted mirror of the underground world. It is possible to understand and perceive exactly what human nature is during historic moments, as we bear witness to a society’s collapse. When laws that have been duly voted in cease to be effective, when the ground gives way under our feet and we can no longer lean on the crutches of social institutions or on the prevailing norms in society, but only on the strength of mind that may or may not be given to a human being to grant him or her the strength to confront the chaos. It is during these historic moments that mankind is defined, here and now, and for many years to come. These situations arise during periods of utter instability that are accompanied by wars."

Produced by Germany’s Majade (Heino Deckert) together with France’s JBA Production (Marianne Dumoulin and Jacques Bidou), Ukraine’s Art House Traffic (Denys Ivanov), Dutch outfits Graniet Film and Wild at Art, and Romania’s Digital Cube, Donbass has secured backing from Eurimages and the CNC’s World Cinema Support. The shoot will last 45 days with Romanian cinematographer Oleg Mutu serving as DoP. The French distribution and international sales will be handled by Pyramide.

(Translated from French)

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