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Victory Day

Sergueï Loznitsa
Germany, 2018
Production : Imperativ Film

Russian, German
French, English


The Soviet War Memorial in eastern Berlin's Treptower Park, the biggest one of its kind outside the Soviet Union, legacy of half a century of Soviet presence, is among the most impressive of the monuments commemorating the Second World War in the German capital. "Victory Day", a traditional holiday till today, was established throughout the USSR and in the former Eastern Bloc countries in order to cherish the memory of the Red Army’s heroics and the suffering of the Soviet population during the "Great Patriotic War". Since the mid-1990s and the withdrawal of the last Russian troops from reunited Germany, each year on May 9th, the date of the victory over Nazi Germany by Moscow time, the memorial, also a military cemetery where thousands of Red Army soldiers were laid to rest, becomes the setting for a vast gathering...

Tënk's film review

Opening and closing his film with a not exactly rousingly patriotic song from the “Soviet Brassens” Bulat Šalvovič Okudžava, with “Den' Pobedy”, Sergueï Loznitsa plunges us into a strange festival of reunions. Russian neo-patriots rub shoulders with diehard German Stalinists, normal civilians cross the paths of soldiers and paramilitaries… In this disconcerting community, they raise their glasses together on the mass grave, join a singalong in front of the memorial and its images engraved in stone of past battles, and dance to the beat of “Born in the USSR”. The director doesn’t merely observe the movements and actions of these devout pilgrims. From the continuity of their endless flow suggested by the intervention of the lens and the intensification of the sound, moving from outside to inside, from a noisily profane gesture to sacred silence under the dome of the memorial, he causes another continuity to emerge… the ideological continuity of a very real contemporary political power and the soft power it now uses.

Jürgen Ellinghaus

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Sergueï Loznitsa

Sergueï Loznitsa, born in 1964 in Belo-Russia (at the time in the USSR), is a Ukrainian director whose documentary work is sometimes on the edge of the experimental. He is a scientist, a specialist in artificial intelligence and a translator of Japanese. After this professional life, Sergueï Loznitsa decided to change his life and went to Moscow to train at the National Institute of Cinematography (VGIK), from which he graduated in 1997. In 2001, he moved with his family to Germany. He has directed 18 documentaries that have won awards at international festivals. His two feature films, "My Joy" (2010) and "Dans la Brume" (2012) were selected at the Cannes Film Festival. In 2014, he shot "Maidan" during the Ukrainian revolution (screened in Cannes). In 2015, "L'Evénement" is presented in Venice. His 2016 documentary, "Austerlitz", follows the journey of tourists in the concentration camps. He then directed two documentaries, "Victory Day" and "The Trial" and a fiction, "Donbass" (Best Director Award at Un Certain Regard). His latest film, "State Funeral", premiered in Venice.

Other films in the collection: History & Politics