TIFF review: Donbass

Sergei Loznitsa's satire of the war in Eastern Ukraine is sometimes hard to watch

DONBASS CWC D: Sergei Loznitsa. Germany, Ukraine, France, Netherlands, Romania. 121 min. Sep 11, 6 pm, Scotiabank 3 Sep 12, 2:45 pm, TBLB 3 Sep 16, 12:45 pm, Scotiabank 13. See listing. Rating: NNNN

A scathing political satire ripped from the headlines of the recent past, Loznitsa’s docudrama set in Eastern Ukraine is like a freeze frame of history, exposing corruption, ineffectual politicians and a farcical state.

There are a baker’s dozen episodes depicted against the background of the war between Ukrainian nationalists and pro-Russian separatists. Loznitsa’s rigorous documentarian’s sensibility and deft use of his mix of professional and non-professional actors make it all too realistic, and occasionally hard to watch.

The film’s aim is true: no one’s immune from the conflict and the breakdown of the state. 

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