The Trial
Sergei Loznitsa
NL 2018
127 min

“24 frames of lies per second” is how Sergei Loznitsa described his found-footage film, PROCESS. A deathly pallor hangs over the black- and-white images that Loznitsa culled from two weeks of hearings against the Industrial Party, which took place in 1930. Six Soviet economists and engineers face fake charges of plotting a coup. Loznitsa cuts briskly from Moscow’s dreamy, snowed-in streets, crowds filling the majestic court, to the confessions. In breaking voices, the accused praise socialist progress, whose foundations, despite supposedly nearly collapsing because of them, can never be shaken. Thus demagogy trumps truth, pained eloquence proves no match for cynical manipulation. Throughout, Loznitsa remains alert to subtle patterns of terror and beauty: the angelic strobe of light that falls on one accused’s princely face, the judge’s terrifying choking cough as he reads the sentence. In Vertovian fashion, the crew appears on camera. Entire rows eerily turn away or block their faces from intrusive light in a surreal pantomime. Irked, not shamed, yet for a moment the camera captures these spectators’ tragic complicity. Stalinist specter of lies fit for our own grim age of fake news. (Ela Bittencourt)

  • Sergei Loznitsa
  • Vladimir Golovnitski
  • Danielius Kokanauskis
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