Archive of films Trial / Process

2018, 128 min

Section: Another View
Year: 2019

Stalin’s show trials paved the way for the Great Terror. The court proceedings against members of the so-called Industrial Party were staged on camera as a spectacle designed to intimidate. Thanks to Sergei Loznitsa, even ninety years on the archive footage still speaks of the unchanging principles of totalitarian mechanisms and of the manipulative force of demagogy and film.


In 1930 the USSR witnessed the beginnings of what would become the Stalin show trials. Top-ranking economists and engineers are accused of plotting a coup d’état. Unusual for the time, the court proceedings are recorded on camera, thus giving rise to one of the first Soviet sound films. Yet these aren’t documentaries, as it might appear, but fictional accounts. The charges are fabricated and the confessions are false, but the sentences are real, their aim to intimidate innocent people and incite them against each other. Loznitsa makes use of archive footage to create an explicitly topical image of terror, in which victims and murderers act with equal fearlessness. His sophisticated conception provides a vivid picture of a historical moment and the devastating cyclicity of social moods.

Kamila Dolotina

About the director

Sergei Loznitsa (b. 1964, Baranovichi, Byelorussian SSR). Selected filmography: The Train Stop (Polustanok, 2000, doc.), Factory (Fabrika, 2004, doc.), Revue (Predstavlenie, 2008, doc.), My Joy (Schastye moyo, 2010), In the Fog (V tumane, 2012), Maidan (2014, doc.), Austerlitz (2016, doc.), A Gentle Creature (Krotkaya, 2017), Victory Day (Den’ Pobedy, 2018, doc.), Donbass (2018), The Trial (2018)


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About the film

Black & white, DCP

Section: Another View
Director: Sergei Loznitsa
Screenplay: Sergei Loznitsa
Editor: Danielius Kokanauskis
Producer: Maria Choustova, Sergei Loznitsa
Production: Atoms & Void
Coproduction: Wild at Art


Maria Choustova


Sergei Loznitsa

Film Director


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