In the Donbass region of Eastern Ukraine, mid-2010s: a hybrid war takes place, involving an open armed conflict alongside killings and robberies on a mass scale perpetrated by Russian-separatist gangs. In the Donbass, war is called peace, propaganda is uttered as truth, and hatred is declared to be love. Life is suffused with fear and suspicion. What is real and what is fake news? Called “a darkly satirical omnibus of scathing vignettes” by the Washington Post, Donbass serves as a crucial interpretation of the Russo-Ukrainian war, but the film is not, ultimately, a tale of one region or one conflict. It is about a world lost in post-truth and fake identities.
The movie’s bitter achievement is in its granular, ground-level concreteness. It’s horrific, impossible, extreme — and also understated.
AO Scott, New York Times
In the way that The Wire unpacked something vital about the layered mess of American cities, Donbass digs with the grimmest of grins into a conflict that has been going on a long time.
Alissa Wilkinson, Vox
The collisions between the grave and the comic are crucial to the films vision of a society cracking under the weight of its inconsistencies.
Carson Lund, Slant
Tamara Yatsenko, Liudmila Smorodina, Boris Kamorzin, Sergey Russkin, Petro Panchuk, Irina Plesnyayeva
In Russian and Ukrainian with English subtitles
Best Director, Un certain regard, Cannes 2018
Geoblocked to British Columbia