thu 11/08/2022

LFF 2012: In the Fog | reviews, news & interviews

LFF 2012: In the Fog

LFF 2012: In the Fog

Divided loyalties between partisans and collaborators lead to a dark, inexorable conclusion

Childhood friends: Sushenya (left) tries to resist the moral choice that partisan Burov has taken

In the Fog, Russian director Sergei Loznitsa’s second feature, shows the wartime world of partisans and collaborators fraught with moral uncertainties. Set in 1942 in German-occupied Belorussia, it returns to a theme much explored by Soviet directors, most notably Elem Klimov in his visceral Come and See.

Loznitsa’s film, with the exception of a wider opening scene, is almost a chamber piece: three characters, slow-moving action, dialogue without a voice raised, no musical score.

Loznitsa’s background was in documentary, before he completed the acclaimed My Joy two years ago, a journey through regional, contemporary Russia that some viewers might prefer not to have taken, given its bleakness. The director is paired again with Romanian cinematographer Oleg Mutu, shooting here in glorious long forest-set takes, far from the handheld style of the duo's first film.

Central character Sushenya (Vladimir Svirski) is a Christ-like figure whose attempt to retain his moral core dooms him in a world where ethical boundaries are blurred. Refusing to collaborate with the German-backed regime, he’s released only for the surrounding community to assume he has betrayed the resistance to save himself. Tracked down by two partisans, led by a childhood friend Burov (Vlad Abashin), he goes meekly towards his execution, only for fate to intervene. Circumstances see him with no direction to turn except for an inescapable final gesture, as the fog comes out of the forest to blur our literal as well as philosophical vision.

Three side episodes tell (slightly unexplained, initially) how each character has entered the conflict. Loznitsa insists on his chosen pace, one which will likely resonate more with critics (the film won the critics’ prize at Cannes this year) than with the general viewer.

Tracked down by two partisans, led by a childhood friend, Sushenya goes meekly towards his execution, only for fate to intervene

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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