Donbass

Directed by Sergei Loznitsa
Film Movement
2018
122 Minutes
Ukraine
Russian, Ukrainian, English
Drama
Not Rated

In the Donbass region of Eastern Ukraine, mid-2010s: a hybrid war takes place, involving an open armed conflict alongside killings and robberies on a mass scale perpetrated by Russian-separatist gangs. In the Donbass, war is called peace, propaganda is uttered as truth, and hatred is declared to be love. Life is suffused with fear and suspicion. What is real and what is fake news? Called "a darkly satirical omnibus of scathing vignettes" by the Washington Post, DONBASS serves as a crucial interpretation of the Russo-Ukrainian war, but the film is not, ultimately, a tale of one region or one conflict. It is about a world lost in post-truth and fake identities. It is about each and every one of us. "There is no other antiwar film quite like DONBASS" (Los Angeles Times).

Director & Cast

  • Director: Sergei Loznitsa
  • Starring: Tamara Yatsenko
  • Starring: Irina Zayarmiuk
  • Starring: Grigory Masliuk

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Reviews

  • "There’s no other antiwar film quite like “Donbass,” Ukrainian filmmaker Sergei Loznitsa’s brutally matter-of-fact, cynically comic string of vignettes depicting social destabilization in the titular war-ravaged region of eastern Ukraine. And yet, as the world grows ever more calloused toward propaganda-fueled division, official criminality and everyday armed conflict, we may need more films as bracing as “Donbass” to slap us straight about where this is leading us all."
    Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times
  • "With this compulsively mesmerising film, Loznitsa has tapped into his nation's beleaguered soul in a way that's immediately recognisable in the global post-truth era."
    Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
  • "A completely clear-eyed composite of hellish desperation... Donbass is Loznitsa's most masterful output to date."
    Nicholas Bell, Ion Cinema
  • "Critic's Pick! [T]he movie’s bitter achievement is in its granular, ground-level concreteness. It’s horrific, impossible, extreme — and also understated."
    A.O. Scott, The New York Times
  • "A brilliant formalist, Loznitsa likes to turn his camera on crowds in motion, turning each sequence into a collective indictment."
    Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times
  • "A sprawling black comedy with a vast ensemble cast, it evokes a chaotic state of social breakdown in the Donbass region of Ukraine, often with virtuoso brilliance...."
    Jonathan Romney, Screen Daily
  • "Donbass reveals how art can be an intimate, eye-opening counterpart to what we're seeing on the news. The mastery of tone and style explains why Loznitsa won the best director's prize for Donbass in the Cannes Festival's Un Certain Regard section."
    Caryn James, BBC
  • "Loznitsa’s satire is anchored by a host of superb actors, whose faces and body types are Eastern European counterparts to those in a Fellini film. "
    Stuart Liebman, ArtForum