Netherlands, Russia, 77 min
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.
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