When war is called peace, propaganda is turned into truth and hate is turned into love, life begins to look like death. Director Sergei Loznitsa provides a 'practical guide' to surviving in such a hell. In this case that hell has a specific name: the eastern Ukrainian Donbass, where criminal gangs, the local army and Russian troops fight each other on the streets. Fear, anger and suspicion are everywhere, but what is real and what is fake news?
With actors and residents of the region, Loznitsa recreates films circulating on social media to show that truth is often more wondrous than fiction. His episodic fictionalisation, which won him the award for Best Direction at the Cannes programme Un Certain Regard, emphasises the grotesqueness of situations that are strange and disturbing. Full of pitch-black humour, Loznitsa shows us a society in decline, while absurd comedy gradually turns into equally absurd tragedy.