Sergei Loznitsa's static camera work lets the characters speak for themselves in his new film, The 'Pobedy (2018). The film is a poetic exploration of the enduring, almost mythical power that Soviet victory in World War II continues to exert over Russians.
Berlin-based Loznitsa – born in the Soviet Union (now Belarus) and raised in Ukraine – has an intimate understanding of the theme. This is reflected in his choice of images and fragments of the conversations that arise when thousands of Russians and other like-minded people gather at the huge Soviet war cemetery in Treptower Park in Berlin. They are gathered to mark the annual celebration of Victory Day 9. May – the day the Soviet defeated Nazi Germany during World War II.
Loznitsa does little to introduce or explain to viewers what the movie is really about. Instead, he lets the slow development of a day of memories, celebration, nationalistic symbols, song and dance tell the story that carries a faint narrative feel throughout the film.
There is a kind of underlying irony in the fact that Russians living in Germany flock to the festive Treptower Park – where, unlike Western war cemeteries, there are no individual tombstones, only massive granite memorials and mass graves – to mark it. . .