In the Fog

V tumane

“Truly eloquent and moving… Actors and landscapes alike could have come out of 19th-century Russian paintings.” — Jonathan Romney, Sight & Sound

Director: Sergei Loznitsa
Year: 2012
Running time: 125 mins
Censor Rating: M - violence

Producer: Heino Deckert
Screenplay: Sergei Loznitsa. Based on the novel by Vasil Bykov
Photography: Oleg Mutu
Editor: Danielius Kokanauskis
Production designer: Kirill Shuvalov
Art director: Juris Zukovskis
Costume designer: Dorota Roqueplo
In Russian with English subtitles
CinemaScope

With: Vladimir Svirski (Sushenya), Vlad Abashin (Burov), Sergei Kolesov (Voitik), Vlad Ivanov (Grossmeier), Julia Pereslid (Anelay), Nadezhda Markina (Burov’s mother), Nikita Peremotovs (Grisha), Kirill Petrov (Koroban), Dmitrijs Kolosovs (Mishuk)

Festivals: Cannes (In Competition) 2012
Critics’ Prize, Cannes Film Festival 2012

This intense, slow-burning Russian war drama considers moral choice in the moral vacuum of occupation. This second feature after My Joy by former documentarian Sergei Loznitsa took the international Critics’ Prize at Cannes this year. “Set in Belarus in 1942, the film begins with a lengthy travelling shot (the first of only 70 or so shots in the movie), which ends with the Nazis hanging Belarussian resistance fighters. It then proceeds to chronicle what happens after two partisans arrive at the house of a comrade widely believed (since he alone was freed by the Nazis after a train was sabotaged) to have betrayed the executed men. He protests his innocence, but they are no more persuaded by his claims than his wife, and they take him through the forest, hoping to avoid discovery by the German forces patrolling the district. What follows not only shows the respective destinies of the three men but sketches, in flashback, their characters and their different responses to the question of how best to deal with the occupying German forces. Loznitsa adopts a slow, stately pace, allowing a number of cruel ironies to emerge from the stark, simple storyline with steadily accumulating dramatic force… In the Fog is a war movie that foregrounds the emotions of individuals over the spectacle of battle, and uses metaphor and a calm mood of ethical enquiry rather than simplistic polemics arguing for or against military engagement. Loznitsa knows that war exists and won’t go away; he tries to show what it might do to our souls. And, in this writer’s opinion, he succeeds.” — Geoff Andrew, Time Out

NZIFF STAFF PICK: Bill Gosden, Sibilla Paparatti