Release Date: March 14th, 2007 (Film Forum) by First Run/Icarus.
Directed by Sergei Loznitsa.
BASIC PREMISE: A documentary about the siege of Leningrad by the Nazis during World War II.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Even though Blockade has no narrator, interviews or any dialogue from the Soviets shown the footage, its black-and-white images communicate what words cannot. Just like in the recent Into Great Silence, it takes patience and very close observations to properly immerse yourself in all of the sights and sounds. Director Sergei Loznitsa assembles this footage he found chronologically and adds his own soundtrack of natural sounds—i.e. footsteps, chatter and trains moving. In many ways, he shows the intense physical conditions of the Soviets, many of whom were either killed by the Nazis during the siege of Leningrad (which is now. St. Petersburg) or died of starvation, disease or exposure to the cold. The simplicity of these images, as well as the fact that they’re in black-and-white, gives them a raw and solemn quality that wouldn’t have been the same in color or with dialogue. Ultimately, the images speak for themselves and stay with you longer after watching this brief 52-minute documentary. Preceding the showing of Blockade is Amateur Photographer, a brief, less haunting 26-minute documentary, directed by Irina Gedrovich, that shows many black-and-white photographs, but does have dialogue: a narrator who reads the diary entries of Private Gerhard M, a German soldier who took photographs of his experiences with his army unit during WWII until his execution for war crimes in 1952.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: It’s quite sad to watch the footage of the Soviets suffer from the cold, starvation or disease during the siege, which lasted 900 days. They were brave enough not let the Nazis take complete control over Leningrad by sticking together, but, by no means was it an easy task for anyone involved in the defense.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 2
IN A NUTSHELL: A simple, haunting and solemn documentary preceded by a very brief, less haunting one.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater
The "B" Menu