Social activism and the filmmaking of Sergei Loznitsa

Film still of Krotkaya (A Gentle Creature) © RR

After My Joy in 2010 and In the Fog in 2012, the third film in Competition by Ukrainian filmmaker Sergei Loznitsa is a free adaptation of the novella A Gentle Woman by Dostoyevsky. Krotkaya (A Gentle Creature) follows the desperate quest of a delicately featured woman played by Vasilina Makovtseva, who sets out, determined to find her husband, imprisoned in a hostile region in deepest Russia. A robust and melancholic interpretation of Dostoyevsky's odyssey

Maïdan, Loznitsa's documentary presented as a Special Screening on the events in Ukraine, set out to raise awareness in 2014. The same year, the collective film (Special Screening) brought together the viewpoints of thirteen renowned filmmakers (including Loznitsa), to shine a spotlight on the story of the Bosnian capital and European politics since 1914.  Social activism lies at the heart of Loznitsa's films and drives his work.

Carefully selected stories from the outer confines of Russia by a man who was once a documentarist inform his fictional feature films. A Gentle Creature is infused by powerful and lyrical directing – a continuation from In the Fog – which was set in another earlier era, that of Nazi occupation. The Dostoyevskian odyssey of his heroine across and austere and desolate Russia focuses our attention once more on the oppressed, those who are left behind and a society with a constant underlying sense of violence.


In 1969, Robert Bresson created his own adaptation of A Gentle Creature, a major and harsh work (like the book itself), but whose story took place not in Russia but in France.