Blockade (image 1)

A piercing record of daily life during wartime... The effect is eerie and powerful.

Tom Beer, Time Out NY

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