Sergei Loznitsa

The Trial

Sergei Loznitsa
Screening time  
28.02. / Thursday, 21:00 - 23:00 Theatre 1  
02.03. / Saturday, 16:00 - 18:30 Theatre 3  
Stalin’s justice. A courtroom drama brought back to life.

Between 1936 and 1938, the Great Purge took place in the Soviet Union. Stalin had millions of citizens executed or sent to prison camps. The show trial held in Moscow in 1930 was a portent of the state terror to come. A group of economists and engineers were accused of being members of the Industrial Party and conspiring with the French Prime Minister Raymond Poincaré to stage a coup. The suspects were questioned for days in a packed courtroom, while soldiers marched and slogans were shouted outside. Loznitsa uses actual footage of the trial to immerse the viewer in the totalitarian reality of the time. There is an underlying relevance to our own times, colored by “alternative facts” and manipulation of the media, which puts these accusations in historical perspective.


Sergei Loznitsa

Filmmaker, editor and screenwriter Sergey Loznitsa was born in 1964 in the city of Baranovitchi, in Belarus. At that time Belarus was part of the Soviet Union. Later Sergei’s family moved to Kiev, Ukraine, where he finished high school and in 1987 graduated with a degree in engineering and mathematics. From 1987 through 1991 Sergey was employed as a scientist at the Institute of Cybernetics. During that time, he developed a strong interest in cinematography, and in 1991 he was admitted to the Russian State Institute of Cinematography, in Moscow. He studied in the studio of Nana Dzhordzhadze and in 1997 graduated with honours with the major in movie production and direction. Loznitsa is considered an extremely multifaceted and productive director, his work includes short films, mid-length films and full-length films – all of them visually stunning and awarded with prizes right from the beginning of his career. Loznitsa is also hard to categorize in terms of film concept: he has presented numerous documentaries – wholly in the tradition of Russian avant-garde documentaries – as well as exemplary feature films. The content of his work ranges from contemporary history themes (including the Second World War, the Soviet era) all the way to everyday observations and portrayals of life in Russia today. His two feature films, My Joy (2010) and In the Fog (2012) had their world premieres at the Festival de Cannes, where In the Fog received the FIPRESCI prize. Loznitsa’s feature-length documentary Maidan (2014), dedicated to the Ukrainian Revolution, premiered at the Festival de Cannes and it was screened at 2015 ZagrebDox. Feature documentary film The Event (2015) revisits dramatic moments of August 1991 in the USSR, a failed coup d’étatattempt (known as Putsch) premiered at Venice Film Festival in 2015. Documentary Austerlitz (2016), nominated for the Best European documentary at European Film Awards 2017, is an observation of the visitors to a memorial site that has been founded on the territory of a former concentration camp. His 2018 documentary Donbass, set in eastern Ukraine where society begins to degrade as the effects of propaganda and manipulation begin to surface in this post-truth era, got Un Certain Regard – Directing Prize at last year's Cannes Film Festival. In 2018 Loznitsa presented two more documentary films: The Trial – archival chronicle of one of the infamous Moscow Trials – at the time, an operatic affair serving to legitimize Stalin’s government, now a timely reminder of the consequences of total authority, and Victory Day, an observational documentary that conveys the power of ideology and nostalgia as it captures the celebration of Victory Day at Berlin's Soviet War Memorial.

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2018, 127'

Directed by:
Sergei Loznitsa

Screenplay by:
Sergei Loznitsa

Edited by:
Sergei Loznitsa, Danielius Kokanauskis

Maria Choustova, Sergei Loznitsa, Peter Warnier

Produced by:
Atoms&Void BV, Wild at Art

Festivals & Awards:

Venice International Film Festival 2018; Toronto International Film Festival 2018; IDFA 2018; DOK Leipzig 2018; Mar del Plata International Film Festival 2018; Haifa International Film Festival 2018; Busan International Film Festival 2018; Tbilisi Film Festival 2018; Bosphorus Film Festival 2018