My Joy director’s second feature is set to start shooting in Latvia in September

Sergei Loznitsa, the director of last year’s Cannes competition film My Joy, is to continue his long-standing collaboration with German producer Heino Deckert for his second feature film In The Fog.

Based on a novel by the Belorussian writer Vassily Bykov, the new film is described by Loznitsa as an existential drama “about a man trying to make a moral choice under the immoral circumstances”.

The action takes place on the German-occupied Western frontiers of the USSR in 1942. A village railway worker is wrongly accused of being a collaborator, and two partisans arrive from the forest to get revenge. As the protagonist attempts to prove his innocence, his humanity is put to the ultimate test.  

The €2m co-production by Deckert’s fiction with Latvia’s Rija Films and the Netherlands’ Lemming Film, and with the participation of Russia’s GP Cinema Company and broadcaster ZDF/Arte, is set to begin principal photography in Latvia in September for an anticipated premiere in spring 2012.

The film will also see Loznitsa continuing his collaboration with the Romanian cinematographer Oleg Mutu (4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days) and the Belorussian sound designer Vladimir Golovnitsky (How I Ended This Summer), and being joined for the first time by the Latvian production designer/animator Jurgis Krasons and the Polish costume designer Dorota Roqueplo. 

The cast for In The Fog will feature professional actors from Russia, Latvia and Germany as well as locals from rural Latgalia on the Latvian-Belorussian border. 

Speaking about why he wants to make a film about the Second World War, Loznitsa said: “During the Soviet era, artists were not free to reflect upon the events of those tragic years. So far, the post-Soviet culture has not produced works which give an unbiased representation of the life in the USSR during the Second World War. However, this tragedy has to be reflected upon and analyzed. I consider it my duty to look back, and – therefore – into the future.”

Deckert, who has worked with Loznitsa since 2003 on the production of four documentaries and Loznitsa’s feature debut My Joy, stresses that, with almost 70% German funding, In The Fog will be a German production destined for the wide international audience

“Making films with Loznitsa is like producing vintage wines – they grow in value year by year,” Deckert says. “My Joy has been released in a number of key world territories, including France, Germany, Russia, Brazil and the USA, and we are already inundated with enquiries about our new project.”