This bold first feature from Ukrainian documentary-maker Loznitsa (the only debut in the Cannes competition) revolves around a nightmarish road trip and combines a realist visual style with a mode of storytelling that moves disconcertingly between past and present and invites us to get lost in a maze of cause and effect. Georgy (Nemets) is a truckdriver on a job in rural Russia. He encounters a Kafka-esque police road block, a prostitute who reacts badly to his kindness and a war veteran who appears in his cab and whose anecdotes take us back to his return from the German front as a young soldier in 1946. When Georgy takes a turning off the road and shares a meal with tramps, he finds himself stuck in a brutal, lawless village, a place we see both now and in some unspecified time in the past. There are hints of Tarkovsky in the poetic exploration of place and memory and the film is a demanding, difficult work. But the sense of a Dantean journey and a vision of utter hell are powerfully conveyed.
Cast and crew