Past screening

The Natural History of Destruction

Directed by: Sergei Loznitsa
Runtime: 1h 52min Certificate: Cert TBC
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Directed by: Sergei Loznitsa
Runtime: 1h 52min Certificate: Cert TBC
Country: Germany, Lithuania, The Netherlands
Topics: History & Archive
Last Screened: Thu 8th Jun 2023

Pushkin House presents the UK premiere of The Natural History of Destruction, a poignant archival film on the aerial bombing and destruction of European cities in World War II that raises complex moral questions.

This event is part of the comprehensive programme WITNESSING HISTORY: FILMS BY SERGEI LOZNITSA, dedicated to the multifaceted oeuvre of this Ukrainian director.

The film is inspired by W.G. Sebald’s book of the same title about the shelling of German cities by British and American aircraft. The assemblage of various WWII archival material, primarily footage of urban bombing campaigns, puts forward the questions: is it morally acceptable to use the civilian population as a means of war? Is it possible to justify mass destruction for the sake of higher “moral” ideals?

These questions remain as relevant today as they were 80 years ago, and their urgency is tragically manifested in current political events.


About Sergei Loznitsa
Sergei Loznitsa is a Ukrainian film director who was born in 1964 in Baranovichi (USSR). He grew up in Kyiv, where he graduated from the Kyiv Polytechnic and worked as a scientist. In 1997, he graduated from the Russian State Institute of Cinematography (VGIK) in Moscow, where he studied feature filmmaking. Sergei Loznitsa has been making films since 1996, and by now he has directed 26 award-winning documentaries and four fiction films.

In 2018, Loznitsa received the prize for Best Directing of the Un Certain Regard section of Festival de Cannes for his fourth feature film, Donbass (2018). Sergei’s feature-length documentaries Maidan (2014) and Natural History of Destruction (2022) had their world premieres at Festival de Cannes, while The Event (2015), Austerlitz (2016), The Trial (2018), State Funeral (2019) and The Kiev Trial (2022) were presented at the Venice International Film Festival. Sergei Loznitsa continues to work in both documentary and fiction genres.


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