In the Fog
A war movie that foregrounds emotions over polemics and spectacle, in which a stark, simple narrative gives rise to chilling ironies.
Even if a screening is sold out, tickets are often available 30 minutes before the start of the film at the box office at each venue.
- Director-Screenwriter Sergei Loznitsa
- Producer Heino Deckert
- With Vladimir Svirski, Vlad Abashin, Sergei Kolesov
- Germany-Russia-Latvia-Netherlands-Belarus 2012
- 128 mins
- UK distribution New Wave
Two years ago Sergei Loznitsa’s My Joy won great praise, but this, his second fiction feature, is even finer. After a band of Belarussian resistance fighters are executed by the Nazis, two partisans visit a colleague believed to have betrayed the dead men. Though he protests his innocence, they take him off into the wintry forest, hoping to avoid German patrols... In flashbacks largely composed of long, elegant tracking shots (courtesy of Romania’s great Oleg Mutu), we come to understand the three men’s different responses to enemy occupation. Little military action is shown, dialogue is sparse and hushed; this Cannes prizewinner is a war movie that foregrounds emotions over polemics and spectacle, and the stark, simple narrative, with its metaphors and calm ethical enquiry, gives rise to chilling ironies. Loznitsa knows war won’t disappear; rather than offer platitudes, he demonstrates the damage it may do to our souls. Hauntingly truthful.
Sushenya is accused of something he did not do, and he has no way of proving his innocence. He is completely alone, and even his wife suspects him of wrongdoing. It is precisely this solitude of the main character in his attempt to communicate with the society which does not trust him, that makes Vasili Bykov’s book so significant. Communication is impossible because ‘eyes and ears are poor witnesses to those men whose souls have barbarian nature’, to quote Heraclitus... He finds himself in a situation when, in order to remain human and to preserve his dignity, he cannot live any longer. This is one of the paradoxes of being. I chose this story which speaks about the war without talking about military actions. Everything that we see at the frontline – impressive battle scenes, for example – does not interest me. I am interested in the conditions which force people to come to the front lines. And the origins of these conditions can be found in the routine daily life. It seems to me that after the experiences of mankind in the 20th century, it is appropriate to speak about the collapse of humanism, as it has been conventionally interpreted in literature and art.
Born in 1964 in Baranovichi in the USSR (now in Belarus), he was raised and studied in Kiev (now Ukraine), graduating in engineering and mathematics. He worked for several years at the Institute of Cybernetics as a scientist involved in the development of systems and artificial intelligence. In 1991 he entered the Russian State Institute of Cinematography in Moscow, and eventually started producing films at the prestigious Documentary Films Studio in St Petersburg; initially as co-director with Marat Magambetov. In 2001 he moved with his family to Germany. Both his feature-length and shorter documentaries have won numerous international awards; while My Joy, his first dramatic feature, was a much-appreciated LFF selection in 2010.
1996 Segodnya my postroim dom (Today We Are Going to Build a House) [s; co-dir]
1998 Zhizn, osin (Life, Autumn) [doc s; co-dir]
2000 Polustanok (The Train Stop) [doc s]
2001 Poselenie (The Settlement) [doc]
2002 Portret (Portrait) [doc s]
2003 Peyzazh (Landscape) [doc]
2004 Fabrika (Factory) [doc s]
2005 Blokada (Blockade) [doc]
2006 Artel [doc s]
2008 Predstavleniye (Revue) [doc]; Northern Light [doc]
2010 Schastye Moye (My Joy)
2012 O milagre de Santo António (The Miracle of St Anthony) [doc]; V tumane (In the Fog)
Read the Time Out review.