The Natural History of Destruction review – a harrowing account of aerial warfare

Ukrainian director Sergei Loznitsa’s strikes a moral equivalence between the British and Germans in a second world war documentary that offers no clear conclusion

Unnatural, in fact. Sergei Loznitsa, the Ukrainian film director whose brilliant 2018 satire Donbass brought home to Cannes what was happening in his country, now brings to the festival an eerie new docu-collation of archive footage meditating on the horrific aerial bombardment inflicted on cities and civilian populations by the British and Germans during the second world war. Nothing could be more brutally relevant given the current destruction of Mariupol and other Ukrainian cities by Putin’s Russia, although Russian warfare in the 1940s doesn’t feature here.

The film is inspired by Wg Sebald’s essay collection Air War and Literature, which ruminated in detail on the evasiveness and amnesia that follows war and the need to bear witness. Yet there is scope for debate
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