My Joy ( 2010)
Director: Sergei Loznitsa
Genre: Life is evil
My Joy is the most significant and profound Russian movie I have watched so far rivaling the great Russian literature ( Leo Tolstoy, Feodor Dostoevsky, Nikolai Gogol). I have a very little knowledge of Russian art house cinema as I've generally watched mainstream. But My Joy is the first movie in my life which reflects my outlook on life. The vast majority of movies I have watched have nothing to do with my understanding or perception of the world. They entertain me, they help to forget about stresses of life. I considered cinema as an abstract art which portrays life or reality rather superficially and theatrically. The further cinema goes from reality the better. If you want something meaningful and real then you should watch documentary or read literature. Cinema is a pure visual art not capable to portray an inner world of consciousness. That's what I've thought before watching My Joy.
Sergei Loznitsa has a unique talent of blending documentary with cinematography. His documentaries are watched like movies and his movies are brutally honest in their realism. His talent lies in portraying evil as a force which penetrates everything and which you cannot escape.
I found the movie highly accessible and entertaining. But after reading some English language reviews I was baffled that foreign viewers have difficulty in understanding or appreciating it.
Review from some viewer: "First of all, I want to say that the film simply blew me away. This film, Sergei Loznitsa's first feature is not only the best film (and discovery) of the year, but one of the biggest and most important works in cinema of this century.
Edited by mutabor - 7/15/13 at 5:48am
Before, Loznitsa was a documentary film maker and this effect can be seen in his fiction film. It is not only true and violent, but also very unconventional, different (truly ascetic, and here can be seen influence of Loznitsa's mentor, Robert Bresson), Loznitsa's use of long take is truly remarkable, in Russian cinema, long take has been used very ofter, beginning from Tarkovsky, then Shepitko, Sokurov, Zvyagintsev... but Loznitsa's use is different and unique, he absolutely refuses style (there is no disgusting exploitation of manner, that spoils Zvyagintsev's overrated, stupid and pointless "Vozvrascheniye"), he doesn't have style as a director, the film itself creates its style and language (and trust me, it's much difficult and much remarkable).
And Loznitsa does very bold thing: he destroys notion of deep shot. Yes, Kiarostami shot films with digital camera (as Loznitsa does), but his shot is extremely static and Loznitsa makes very long travelings with hand held camera, what's truly new thing and it also creates a feeling of claustrophobia, of closed circle, of No Exit and it's really conceptual use of primitive cinematic method.
It's extremely difficult film, but it's not art house and it's not the proud film, so called "not for everyone". It IS for everyone, but on the other hand, it should be watched very carefully: consider that you'll be shocked and maybe even depressed but I have one very useful advise: if you decide to watch this TRUE masterpiece, be patient and watch it till the end."