Cert: 15 Year: 2018 Length: 122 mins Language: Russian/Ukranian
We had a double take when we saw the reviews of 'Donbass': a Ukranian black comedy? Really? Looking closer, that reaction is probably what director Sergey Loznitsa ('In the Fog') wants. His film is trying to show the sheer madness of the war in Ukraine, "...a place where there are still memories of the second world war, tribal loyalties concerning the Russia that saved Ukraine from Nazi Germany and fascism – but also, on the other side, the Stalinist terror-famine visited on Ukraine before the war" - Peter Bradshaw, Guardian.
Loznitsa does this by a series of episodes "...fuelled by ...collisions between the grave and the comic, a tonal oscillation mastered by Loznitsa in his documentaries and carried over here to support a vision of a society cracking under the weight of its own inconsistencies, corruption and mob mentalities" - Carson Lund, Slant.
As David Parkinson says in the Radio Times, "Watching this... it becomes dismayingly clear why the people of Ukraine voted in 2019 to entrust the country's presidency to a comedian known for playing a decent politician in a TV series. From its opening sequence showing how fake news is concocted to control the thought processes of a divided nation, this withering and soberingly acute satire has a ring of authenticity...".
So we can expect to laugh here, but possibly the same way you might laugh at some of the strange things that Trump comes out with; fortunately "The compunction to tell the truth remains, which is why Sergei Loznitsa's body of work is so indispensable: It refuses to be complacent" - Jay Weisberg, Variety.
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