900 Dagen

Jessica Gorter
Netherlands, Russia | 2011 | 77 min
Language : Russian
Subtitle : English

The blockade of Leningrad by Hitler’s armies during World War II: 900 days, more than a million civilian victims. By focusing on the accounts of the last survivors of the tragedy, the film performs a masterly piece of decoding. A staggering reflection on the concept of historical “truth”, or of memory wrestling with propaganda and censorship, trauma and silence.

8 September 1941. Hitler’s armies are besieging Leningrad and have cut all the city’s supply routes. The inhabitants are held hostage for almost 900 days. The bitter cold and hunger claim more than a million victims. This staggering film focuses on the words spoken by the last remaining survivors of the tragedy. Words long repressed and censored, heavy with silences and things unspoken, bitter criticism and terrifying accounts. Or the words of heroes, reflecting the adulatory official line, past and present. “I am fascinated to see how the creation of a legend has in fact eroded the memories of some of the main characters in my film.  But I am even more impressed by how other survivors, in spite of many decades of propaganda, have managed to stand by their own version of the truth. 900 Dagen touches on a universal theme: how do personal memories relate to collective commemorations, and the power of propaganda? The film poses the uncomfortable question: ‘Is it better to know a gruesome truth or to embrace the comfort of a myth’ " (JG). A masterly piece of decoding.
Alessia Bottani
Translation BMP Translations


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