Sergei Loznitsa, Revue, 2008. Courtesy New Wave Films

Sergei Loznitsa, Revue, 2008. Courtesy New Wave Films

Sergei Loznitsa, Revue, 2008. Courtesy New Wave Films

Revue is based on archive propaganda newsreels produced in the USSR in the 1950s and 60s. It shows the almost forgotten side of the Soviet times and the way of thinking at that period. It explores the life of people all across the vast expanse of the Soviet Motherland, though full of hardship, deprivation and absurd rituals, but at the same time illuminated by the ‘glorious shining of the communist illusion’.

With scenes taken from the length and breadth of the Soviet Motherland, Revue illustrates industry and agriculture (dam construction, steel plants, Stakhanovite labour competitions, farmland seeded by hand and plowed with horse), political life (local elections, abundant Lenin iconography, speeches by Khrushchev, the threat of capitalist spies), popular culture (a village choir, a dance troupe, a travelling cinema, poetry readings for workers, a propagandistic stage play), and technology (space exploration, astronaut Yuri Gargarin, new industrial development).

The cumulative impact reveals a life of hardship, deprivation and seemingly absurd social rituals, but one always inspired by the vision, or illusion, of a communist future. Seen from these dual historical and contemporary perspectives, Revue is both a nostalgic and instructive look back at a communist past.

In common with Loznitsa’s other films screening at the Festival, Revue is distinguished by its lack of a conventional narration or voiceover. As Loznitsa explains: ‘If I put in a voice-over, I offer my view, and that means I exclude the possibility of the viewer having his own view. He has either to agree with me or not agree with me.’

Revue, dir: Sergei Loznitsa, 2008, Germany/Russia/Ukraine, 83min + Q&A, New Wave Films/Deckert Distribution.

Presented as part of Levels of Democracy: Ukraine Film Weekend, more information about all the films in the series here.

Film Pass Three: Levels of Democracy: Ukraine Film Weekend
Fri 18 – Sun 20 March
£30 Full Price / £25 Concession
Includes entrance to all films in the series. Offer excludes Test Dept live soundtrack, separate tickets available
Film Passes can only be booked via the Tyneside Cinema Box Office.

Sergei Loznitsa

£7.50/£6, book here
Film Pass Three, £30/£25

Sun 20 March, 2.45pm (83min + Q&A)

Tyneside Cinema

10 –12 Pilgrim Street
Box Office 0191 227 5500