Donbass is a fictional documentary loosely set during the midst of conflict in eastern Ukraine between the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian forces. The second world war and fascism still strong in people’s memory, through vignettes of different people’s stories, themes such as propaganda, power and corruption are explored.
There are no main characters in this film, and not much information is given about the conflict nor the people involved. This left me wanting to know more about the conflict and the characters. That said, the way the cinematography was done, the editing and the narrative were brilliant. I have never seen a film by Sergei Loznitsa before and had no idea what to expect. By the end of the film, you get the sense that no one in society has clean hands, no one is the victorious and the cycle of conflict and corruption isn’t going to end.
Donbass has a niche market, it can feel hard to engage the viewer with the focus at from narrative and characters, but I recommend viewing it. This film manages to highlight serious themes in a minimalist kind of way.