Screened as part of NZIFF 2008

Blockade 2005


Directed by Sergei Loznitsa

This staggering record of the 900-day siege of Leningrad is compiled from phenomenal footage found in Moscow's archives. "Eerie and powerful." — Time Out NY

52 minutes 35mm / B&W

Director, Screenplay, Editor


Vladimir Golovnitsky


Rotterdam, Karlovy Vary 2006; Adelaide, Sydney 2007


The siege of Leningrad during World War II lasted 900 days, leaving more than 600,000 dead. This vividly compressed record, silent, but for naturalistic foley - footsteps, crowd murmurs - is compiled from footage found in Moscow's archives. In pristine black and white, mesmerising travelling shots take us through the streets. The film begins in almost whimsical fashion, as soldiers march a dirigible down Main Street, like surreal pallbearers, but that shadow of death becomes darker as the siege goes on. This is a disconcertingly enveloping film that seems, through the sheer duration of the shots and the steadiness of the camera's gaze, to draw you into its own present tense. When a squad of German prisoners is marched through the streets, the tension of incipient violence may be felt in the auditorium. There's beauty too in its desolate images: a sequence of flying, flaming books is the work of an inspired cinematographer. — BG