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IN THE FOG

SYNOPSIS:
Western frontier of the USSR, 1942. The region is under German occupation, and local partisans are hiding in the forest and fighting a brutal resistance campaign. Sushenya (Vladimir Svirskiy) works for the railways and when three of his colleagues propose to sabotage the rail line, he warns against it for fear of brutal reprisals on innocent villagers. After the derailment, all four are arrested, and the other three are hanged, but Sushenya walks free.Rumours of Sushenya's treason spread quickly, and partisans Burov (Vlad Abashin) and Voitik (Sergei Kolesov) emerge from their forest hideout to exact revenge. As the partisans lead their victim through the forest, they are spotted by German police, and Sushenya finds himself alone with his wounded enemy, forced to make a moral choice under immoral circumstances.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
We see consequences before their cause in this storytelling masterclass from Sergei Loznitsa, as he uses the tools of cinema to immerse us in the frugal, wintry world of German occupied Belorussia. Voted the international critics' favourite at Cannes 2012, In the Fog explores morality from different perspectives - but with a clear view to its value as a human trait.

To increase the austere tone, Loznitsa doesn't use any music to underscore the film, and the cold greys of winter banish almost all colour from the images. Yet the sterile world of war is haunted by Sushenya's natural, undramatic morality. When the partisans come to his little house with his young son and concerned wife to take him away as a traitor, Sushenya doesn't resist, although he asserts his innocence. He says it's fate, yet this turns out to be deeply ironic when his execution is interrupted.

It's what he does next that pivots the film's story and sets in motion his new journey. Several key plot points are best discovered as they are revealed, in a film of almost meditative pace.

Strong, naturalistic performances power the film and the mix of formal and informal framing gives the film visual texture - decorated with superb use of light. One little visual signature of cinematographer Oleg Mutu is closely following a character (or a small group) with a hand held camera, head and shoulders shot from the back as they walk - until an off screen interruption stops them.

It's in the fog on a deserted road at the end of the film that the irony of Sushenya's strength of character is resolved.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

IN THE FOG (M)
(Russia, 2012)

V tumane

CAST: Vladimir Svirskiy, Vlad Abashin, Sergei Kolesov, Vlad Ivanov, Nikita Peremotovs, Yuliya Peresild, Kirill Petrov

PRODUCER: Heino Deckert

DIRECTOR: Sergei Loznitsa

SCRIPT: Sergei Loznitsa (novel by Vasill Bykov)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Oleg Mutu

EDITOR: Danielius Kokanauskis

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Jurgis Karsons, Kirill Shuvalov

RUNNING TIME: 123 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Sharmill Films

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 14, 2013







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