Filmmaker Sergei Loznitsa (born in 1964 in Belarus and raised in Ukraine) has emerged this past decade as a thoughtful commentator on a range of political and socioeconomic issues related to Ukraine, Russia, and the former Soviet bloc countries. Originally trained in engineering and math, he was employed as a scientist at the Institute of Cybernetics before he applied to study at VGIK, the Russian State Institute of Cinematography in Moscow, in the mid-1990s. Today, Loznitsa is equally praised for his work in documentary and narrative film. On occasion, he mines archival footage to examine and reanimate historical events, such as the siege of Leningrad in Blockade. Most often, Loznitsa adopts an observational style, which allows his camera to show a situation rather than tell it. Loznitsa has also chosen to film many of his actualités on location—these works offer intimate views of contemporary life in rural Russia and the Eastern European region (The Old Jewish Cemetery; Life, Autumn; Factory; Landscape). Loznitsa’s cinema is carefully constructed, allowing viewers space to interpret what his films present and form their own opinions about the subject at hand. We are pleased to welcome film critic Neil Young (The Hollywood Reporter, Sight & Sound, Tribune, MUBI Notebook) as the guest moderator of this series.
Susan Oxtoby, Senior Film Curator