Yet another fantastic film, I came across entirely by chance. I was listening to an old interview with Mariusz Szczygieł who mentioned the title in passing. In Cannes in 2018 Donbass opened the Un Certain Regard section and Sergei Loznitsa won the Un Certain Regard award for Best Director. The whole film is built as a sequence of loosely connected scenes, all set in Donbass, a region in eastern Ukraine, at the outbreak of war in 2014. Together these vignettes create a stomach-turning portrait of the chaotic conflict and the victims of crimes both petty and ruthless. The film offers equal measures of brutality and absurdity and some of the stories could be considered amusing if you didn’t suspect they were actually depicting real-life events. Some reviewers criticised Donbass for not being entirely different from Russian propaganda films or some of the grotesquery not quite working. Not being able to support either of these statements, I prefer to focus on the stories that made the whole film so extremely powerful it is unlikely I will ever be able to forget it.
I watched it on Curzon Home Cinema