Archive of films Blockade / Blokada

2005, 52 min

Section: Documentary Films - Competition
Year: 2006

Compiled from authentic and hitherto unused footage of life in besieged Leningrad, this film conveys the 900 days of the blockade using only image and sound. The effect is an immediate sense of the lives of people in inhuman conditions, humanised by the everyday struggle for survival despite the constant presence of death.


The siege of Leningrad has become one of the legends of the 2nd World War. It lasted 900 days, and it was not until the 1st of March 1944 that the enemy stranglehold on the city with its several million inhabitants relaxed. The city was constantly bombarded, faced hunger and freezing temperatures, but its people kept on working and adjusted their lives to the situation. The film is compiled from authentic news footage. Individual shots have been grouped in thematic passages about various different aspects of the reality of the siege. The director has added no commentary, and his reanimation of the past is based only on the image and evocation through sound. The film thus gets behind the legend to the real life of people in inhuman conditions, which made everyday existence a struggle for survival in the face of the constant presence of death. The sense that the audience has of living through the events derives from both the immediacy of the images and the rhythmic arrangement of the material, which includes hitherto unused footage of the blockade.

About the director

Sergei Loznitsa (b. 1964, Baranovichi, Belorus) originally studied at Kiev Polytechnic’s Faculty of Applied Mathematics (graduating in 1987), and worked for a short time at the Institute of Cybernetics. In 1997 he completed his studies at VGIK in Moscow. He obtained a Nipkow Programme scholarship in Berlin (2000). He worked for a documentary film studio in St Petersburg and has made many highly individual documentaries: Today We’ll Build a House (Segodnia my postroim dom, 1996), The Plaster Dictator (Diktator iz gipsa,1998), Life, Autumn (Zhizn, osin, 1998), The Halt (Polustanok, 2000), The Settlement (Poselenie, 2001), Portrait (Portret, 2002), for which he won a Special Mention from the Jury at the KV IFF. He made the film Landscape (Peyzazh, 2003) for a German production company. He also applied his sense of dispassionate observation in the film Factory (Fabrika, 2004). He completed the film Blockade (Blokada) in 2005, and followed this up with Co-operative (Artyel).


St. Petersburg Documentary Film Studio
Krukov kanal 12, 190 068, St. Petersburg
Tel: +7 812 714 5312, +7 812 114 4592
Fax: +7 812 714 3304

Deckert Distribution
Gottschedstr. 18, 04109, Leipzig
Tel: +49 341 215 6638
Fax: +49 341 215 6639

About the film

Black & white, 35 mm

Section: Documentary Films - Competition
Director: Sergei Loznitsa
Screenplay: Sergei Loznitsa
Dir. of Photography: archive material
Editor: Sergei Loznitsa
Producer: Vjačeslav Tělnov / Viacheslav Telnov
Production: St. Petersburg Documentary Film Studio
Contact: St. Petersburg Documentary Film Studio, Deckert Distribution


Sergei Loznitsa

Film Director

Vladimir Golovnitsky

Film Crew

Vyacheslav Telnov



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