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Donbass (2018)

Drama | 121 minutes
3,24 91 votes

Genre: Drama

Duration: 121 minuten

Country: Germany / Ukraine / France / Netherlands / Romania

Directed by: Sergey Loznitsa

Stars: Tamara Yatsenko, Iryna Zayarmiuk and Hryhoriy Masliuk

IMDb score: 6,6 (4.883)

Releasedate: 30 August 2018

Donbass plot

The Donets Basin, in eastern Ukraine, is occupied by several criminal gangs at war with the military, rival gangs and Russian forces. Major robberies are common and there is an environment of fear, deceit, hatred and violence. Society is falling apart and it is inevitable that the war is gradually reaching its peak.

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avatar van Cinsault


  • 243 messages
  • 516 votes

I think the term 'Capharnaum' applies to the Donets Basin (Donbass) in Ukraine. At least, after seeing Donbass, that was the first association that came to mind. The region has been in the news frequently in recent years due to the tense situation between the Ukrainian army, separatists and the Russians, who have an interest in regaining control of the Donets basin. As always, the people suffer in such situations: lawlessness, arbitrariness, corruption and constant insecurity plague the population, who live in poverty and bomb shelters. Various groups exploit this, claim it as their side and manipulate the population. Staged (war) situations and actual (war) situations alternate and so at a certain point it is no longer clear what is real or true. A hornet's nest that no one wants to burn their hands on, in which you go through life battered and indifferent, sometimes even almost apathetic.

With Donbass, Sergei Loznitsa delivers a razor-sharp observation of the status quo in the eastern part of Ukraine. As melancholic as can be and yet colorful, thanks to the colorful parade of characters that are frequently featured in caricatured form in this satirical drama. At least caricatured? Loznitsa is said to have based the various scenes on videos he came across on online platforms. The various, long scenes have a sketch-like feel, which does not lack humor, although the content and underlying message are deadly serious and critical. Donbass evoked a mix of emotions for me and is not always pleasant to watch (and it doesn't have to be), but it is definitely necessary that films like this are made. So yes: count me in for that Loznitsa fan club.

dutch flagTranslated from Dutch · View original

avatar van blurp194


  • 4454 messages
  • 3552 votes

This is what it looks like.

It is not a nice life in the Donbas - not if you are among the ordinary people who are sacrificed for the interests of the oligarchy. And not even if you are one of the 'happy few' who gets the dubious honor of doing the dirty work. A very graphic lesson of how that works - after a war that destroys society, fuels suspicion and hostility between groups, destroys infrastructure and leaves it in ruins. And perhaps worst of all, the corrupt mismanagement that makes it impossible to see a future, no light at the end, and nothing to work on to make the hopeless existence a little better.

Loznitsa does not tell a linear story with a series of apparently disconnected scenes, but it does form a whole. A very cynical and depressing whole. Very sad to think that as a so-called 'civilized' world we are unable to do anything about this, and even worse, seem unable to prevent the rest of Ukraine from meeting the same fate.

dutch flagTranslated from Dutch · View original

avatar van james_cameron


  • 5910 messages
  • 9065 votes

The timing of this politically charged satire about a civil war in the east and in the Ukraine is particularly striking, although unfortunately the film has little else to offer. The fragmentary script, consisting of thirteen long scenes that have only minimal connection with each other, fails to captivate and neither the characters nor the events make much of an impression.

dutch flagTranslated from Dutch · View original