On 25 November 1930, eight prominent engineers and economists were put on trial in Moscow. The charges were serious: having done everything they could to sabotage the economic development of the Stalinist Soviet Union, even plotting a coup d'état. They faced the death penalty. The chief prosecutors Nicolai Krylenko and the notorious Andrei Vyshinsky fiercely interrogated the accused, while people in the streets demonstrated to show their loyalty to the Soviet ideals. And even though there wasn't a shred of evidence, all eight men confessed guilt.
This trial can be seen as a dress rehearsal for the show trials that would be held between 1936 and 1938. Ukrainian director Sergei Loznitsa (A Gentle Creature, Donbass, and more) used original archive material to present the trial as a treacherous theatre performance, a kammerspiel setting out how a murderous political system arises.
Director Sergei Loznitsa will be interviewed after the film by Rialto programmer Marek Stolarczyk. Please take note: this interview will be in English.