Sergei Loznitsa returns to working with archive material, as previously seen in films like The Event or the harrowing Blockade. The likeness of the film’s English title to the name of the novel by Franz Kafka is probably not completely coincidental: as in the Bohemian author’s fictional masterpiece, the Stalin-era show trial that the documentary depicts is absurd and surreal in its extreme measures to legitimise the Soviet government of the time.
Loznitsa discovered the footage of the trial of a group of high-ranking economists and engineers in the 1930s Soviet Union while attempting to make a somewhat different film, a collage of footage from several different court proceedings in order to show how the Soviet terror machine was established. The unique footage he found, a propaganda film, featured original sound, a rare treat at the time, and the spectacle intended by Stalin’s government as a demonstration of the power of his totalitarian regime was reconstructed step by step.
–Tina Poglajen, Cineuropa, september 2018
In partnership with ARTE France
Sergei Loznitsa (born in 1964) is a Ukrainian director known for his documentary as well as dramatic films. He is known for Den’ Pobedy (2018), Une femme douce (2017), Austerlitz (2016), The Old Jewish Cemetery (2015).
- PRODUCTION : ATOMS & VOID, Wild at Art, in association avec ARTE France-La Lucarne