23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023

Sergei Loznitsa

Sergei Loznitsa was born in the town of Baranavichy in the Belarusian SSR in 1964 and grew up in Kyiv. He studied applied mathematics until 1987 and then worked at the Kyiv Institute of Cybernetics. During this period, he also translated works from Japanese and became interested in film. In 1991, he began studying at the renowned film academy WGIK in Moscow.

In 1996, he made his first Short film, »Segodnja my postroim dom« [Eng. »Today We Are Going to Build a House«], which received numerous international awards. His breakthrough as a documentary filmmaker came in the late 1990s, when he independently made award-winning films about life in the Russian countryside and everyday working conditions there. He has also concentrated on historical topics such as the German siege of Leningrad in World War II. »Blokada« [2005; Eng. »Blockage«] landed him the most important Russian film prize, the Nika. His 2008 film »Predstavlenije« [Eng. »Revue«] is a montage of Soviet newsreels and amateur footage from the 1950s and 1960s.

After a scholarship grant brought him to Berlin in 2000, Loznitsa settled in Germany. His first feature film »Sčast’e moë« [Eng. »My Joy«] was screened at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. The plot follows the story of a long-distance truck driver who goes astray on his journey and finds himself in the countryside, where he is gradually drawn into everyday life marked by violence and arbitrariness. »›My Joy‹ is an impressive debut.« [»DIE ZEIT«]. Loznitsa’s second feature film »V Tumane« [2012; »In the Fog«], with which he was also invited to Cannes, deals with the war between Germany and the Soviet Union in 1942 and is based on a novel by Wassil Bykau [19242003]. The Film drama »Donbass« [2018] deals with the conflict between Ukraine and the Russian-backed Donetsk People’s Republic. Loznitsa’s documentary, »Babi Yar. Context«, which premiered in Cannes in 2021, examines the largest massacre of Jews in World War II that took place near Kyiv in September 1941 by Einsatzgruppen of the Security Police [SiPo] and the SD. He drew from sources located in German, Russian, and Ukrainian archives, which he then arranged audio-visually. The main aim of the documentary is to encourage Ukrainian society to face its own history. A re-examination of the event only began in the Soviet Union in the 1960s, when a flood washed up the remains of the victims. The film won the Silver Hugo for Best Documentary at the Chicago Film Festival.

Loznitsa has been honoured with numerous international awards for his cinematographic work. Today he lives in Berlin.

Date: 2022