Review - Austerlitz

Review by Rod Freedman

Austerlitz Dir: Sergei Loznitsa | Germany

On a trip to Poland, I once went on a ‘tour’ of Auschwitz with mixed feelings. I wanted to go for personal reasons but even the word ‘tour’ seemed to diminish the solemnity and respectfulness required of such a visit. This film, by Ukrainian director Sergei Loznitsa explores that discomfort but, with no narration or music, leaves the audience time to observe, reflect and think about the complexities. On a hot summer’s day, thousands of sightseers flood through the infamous ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ gates of Dachau and Sachsenhausen Nazi concentration camps. Incongruously dressed in shorts and t-shirts, the crowds would be gaudy if the film were not in black and white. Shot entirely on locked off cameras which simply observe the different reactions and behaviour, with snippets of guide commentary and location sound, we are led to question the nature of remembrance and how we can possibly connect to such places. 

ROD FREEDMAN is an independent director and producer whose documentaries have won many Australian and international awards and screened in dozens of film festivals. Rod is particularly interested in stories about people and their life’s journeys.