First Trailer for Sergei Loznitsa's Concentration Camp Doc 'Austerlitz'

August 22, 2016
Source: YouTube

Austerlitz Trailer

"Follow me this way…" If you've followed the Cannes Film Festival in the last decade, you know the name Sergei Loznitsa - a Ukrainian filmmaker who has premiered numerous films at the festival in the past few years. His latest work is a documentary called Austerlitz, which examines the baffling yet common idea of visiting the grounds of former Nazi concentration camps. "One of the biggest mysteries of such places is the motive that induces thousands of people to spend their summer weekends in former concentration camps looking at ovens in a crematorium. To try to come to grips with this, I made this film," Loznitsa explains. This trailer is a very bleak introduction that instantly asks: why are these places so popular with tourists?

Here's the festival trailer for Sergei Loznitsa's doc Austerlitz, direct from TIFF's YouTube:

The new film from Sergei Loznitsa (Maidan, The Event, In the Fog) is a stark yet rich and complex portrait of tourists visiting the grounds of former Nazi extermination camps, and a sometimes sardonic study of the relationship (or the clash) between contemporary culture and the sanctity of the site. Austerlitz is directed by award-winning Ukrainian filmmaker Sergei Loznitsa, of films including My Joy, In the Fog, Revue, Blockade, Bridges of Sarajevo, as well as the docs Maidan and The Event previously. The film is set to premiere at the Venice Film Festival and Toronto Film Festival coming up this fall. It is still in search of distribution, so no other release details are available just yet. Stay tuned for more updates. Your thoughts?

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Reader Feedback - 7 Comments


I fail to see or agree with this guy's opinion or point of view with regards to people visiting these sites where human beings did horrible things to other human beings. I am quite impressed that people would visit these sites and face the cold hard reality of the darkness of the human condition. Plus, the trailer footage was boring. Is he being judgmental? It sure seems so, but why? Would he rather people spend their summer week-ends going to such plastic and worthless and immature sites/public parks such as Disneyland? Where the folks can further insert their heads up their rear ends and remain ignorant and unaware of the harsh reality around them? I couldn't tell from the short trailer, but whatever this guy's point is, it doesn't seem to be made very well or very creatively. I think he lacks intelligence and understanding of human behavior on the many different levels in which we all operate. Why shouldn't people be curious as to these sites and what they look like and how fellow human beings constructed them and operated them in order to slaughter and kill other fellow human beings? It's pretty hard to accept that such things actually occurred. To see it first hand would certainly help to, in fact, accept what human beings are capable of doing. I would think that it would be a very worthwhile and educational experience and applaud those that make the visit to such sites. I also don't think the experience would be anything less than difficult and again applaud those that make the effort to try to understand such darkness as this that existed and still does in the world in which we all live.

Guest on Aug 22, 2016


I tend to agree with both of you, Bo. I absolutely agree with you (and even more than with this filmmaker) that people should see and visit places like this. I did so myself in my part of the world. But being from Eastern Europe, I think I understand his motives. You mentioned Disneyland. Imagine people who take concentration camp site similar to Disneyland. Isn't that a bit deranged? To say at least. Imagine coming people to those sites without respect for what happened there and just wanted to be seen there. And besides, there are sites of different regimes and ideologies in Europe where some play or use one of those sites against the others for ideological or any other purposes. A lot of cynicism is invested in this. So, to be quite and essentially sensitive about it, I think that's what this guy says. But, on the other side, and that's where I pretty much agree with you, he lost the real possibility to spread a word about the need to show some respect for those places and all that happened there. We didn't see the film so we can't say all there is about it but I think he will put some of things I mentioned. Anyway, I don't think that he ignores anything you described in your post, I think he want to argue more than that ...

shiboleth on Aug 23, 2016


Well, first of all, shiboleth, why imagine what people might be doing or not be doing? It's none of my business. Why even assume they are going for whatever reasons one wants to assume? I find that a bit silly. People can do whatever they want to do in these matters and to imagine they might be going to these places for the same reason they go to Disneyland and finding that deranged is without purpose to me. Of course, one can judge that if they do it's deranged, but why bother? I find it difficult to believe that people behave in these places like they do in Disneyland. I think that's a pretty far reach. And so what if they do? Ain't my business. The collective masses, in just about everything they do, to me, is pretty deranged. Just look at how they flock to stupid, comic book super hero movies for proof of't help my self...(I'm being ironic here, shiboleth. I also question the director's reasoning for why he wanted to make this film, like he's some terrific person for doing so. If he wants to find out why people are going, or wonders why they do as he says, then just go and ask them. Pretty simple thing to do. Don't bring a camera and attempt to record in a way to make the point you already are assuming. Just go and stand at the gate and ask 10 or 15 people politely why they are attending. He wasn't interested in that. He was more interested in being judgmental and polishing his ego for doing so. That would be my outlook on it. Second, I like the point you make about 'some play or use one of those sites against the others for ideological or any other purposes. A lot of cynicism is invested in this'. Yes, yes of course. Such is the insane nature of the human condition. Very good point and very well said. Still, it has no real resonance with me and is not of my personal experience. If I was near one of the camps open for visiting I would no doubt take the time to experience it. I find the view of those that they should be closed rather discomforting. Should we close all museums? Should Spielberg not have made Schindler's List? Should not many of the various excellent films depicting this horrible historical fact not be made? I really find that a bit naive and simplistic and silly. So, as always, good post and good discussion, shiboleth. See the power that films and movies have in our lives? The power to invoke intelligent and interesting discussions exchanging perceptions and points of view held by people from completely different parts of the world? People like you and me? Excellent!! Thank you, Sir. I always enjoy our exchanges. Peace.

Guest on Aug 23, 2016


Oh no, Bo, we shouldn't close anything or stop people from being creative about anything, not at all. Just like this guy, he should do what he means to do. All I am saying is that people change, times change and the way people see and address things change. Pointing that this is being, as you say, judgmental probably is also too harsh itself? Or maybe it is judgmental, but not in its strong meaning as you present it. We all judge things, people, events and what not and why should that be taken against us? Why we shouldn't see the problem in those matters where others just don't see anything? Or, at least, not in a way we do. However, I see something, through this trailer, something close to some kind of suggestion and not some harsh judgment of humanity. I admit, I still can discern that suggestion, but maybe it is worth discerning. And even if some harsh judgment of humanity is the case, so what? Terrible places like this that are thematized here deserve some special sensitivity. In that respect I care less about the ego or being overstuffed with one's special place in world. For example, none of us must love David Lynch but his films are something special in a film history. And I think it's worthy contribution to film culture. I might not like everything he does, but I don't deny it either as some value. And I think it's better to have an ego when it comes to concentration camp over not having any respect or being conscious about it. And why not filming it? It may not be my or your idea of doing film, but so what? Besides, all this time, there's a possibility that it also has to be seen for being less judgmental about it, wouldn't you say, Bo? Cheers ...

shiboleth on Aug 23, 2016


Well, I've said all I wish to say about all this, shiboleth. No sense in kicking a dead horse...over and over...cheers.

Guest on Aug 23, 2016


Yeah I always had a hard time with the fact these death camps are used a tourist destinations. So weird. I would never want to visit one. My mom's extended family was lost at one of these places. I think it would probably be better to raze them and put up a small memorial or something like that.

DAVIDPD on Aug 22, 2016


I'm always very interested in any Holocaust-related documentary, but this trailer did nothing to pique my interest.

cuckoozey on Aug 23, 2016

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