BABI YAR. CONTEXT
MUST END THURSDAY, APRIL 28
PRODUCED BY ATOMS & VOID FOR BABYN YAR HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL CENTER
More than 80 years ago, in September 1941, the Nazis massacred 33,771 Jewish men, women, and children over a 2-day period, their naked bodies falling into a ravine located in present-day Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital. Ukrainian filmmaker Sergei Loznitsa is famed for his brilliant archival collage-movies, among them BLOCKADE (the German siege of Leningrad) and STATE FUNERAL (Stalin’s funereal extravaganza), both of which premiered at Film Forum. Here he explains the inexplicable, one of the most heinous war crimes, by documenting those events that led up to it and those that followed — much of the footage shot by amateur photographers among the occupying German soldiers. Loznitsa begins with Ukrainian civilians exulting in the Nazi occupation: attached to a trolley car, a sign reads, “Hitler The Liberator.” Like all of his movies, and perhaps like all major historical moments, BABI YAR. CONTEXT juxtaposes the remarkable with the banal to astonishing effect.
BABI YAR. CONTEXT premiered at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival where it won the Special Jury Prize, the L’Oeil d’Or for Best Documentary.
Presented with support from the Joan S. Constantiner Fund for Jewish & Holocaust Films and The Richard Brick, Geri Ashur, and Sara Bershtel Fund for Social Justice Documentaries.
2021 121 MINS. THE NETHERLANDS / UKRAINE IN UKRAINIAN, RUSSIAN & GERMAN WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES
“A stunning documentary…shows us arresting archival footage, supplemented with sound design.”
– PJ Grisar, Forward
“Reverberates into the present with devastating force. Few archival-oriented documentaries achieve the urgency of BABI YAR. CONTEXT.”
– Clayton Dillard, Slant
“Draws upon extraordinary archive footage to peer directly into the darkness. Creates a fascinating and quietly devastating chronicle of invasion, occupation and slaughter. Loznitsa and his team perform miracles with their material.”
– Demetrios Matheou, Screen Daily
“Visceral. Loznitsa finds striking moments of calm amongst the ravages of battle. The testimonials from survivors are all the more horrible for how matter-of-fact they are, and the testimony of a German soldier is pure banality-of-evil. It’s remarkable footage, a true contribution to the historical record.”
– Daniel Gorman, In Review Online