New Film Shows Us An Actual Soviet Show Trial

In The Trial, Ukrainian director Sergei Loznitsa and his team use only rare, recently-discovered film (with sound) of a full 1930 show trial in Moscow. Masha Gessen explains just how fitting the term show trial is: “the judges, the prosecutor, the court clerks, and the defendants are all members of the cast. They are performing their assigned roles. The rest of the people in the hall — men and women of different ages, some dressed in military uniforms and some in civilian suits, but all wearing their best — are the audience, and their job is to believe everything they see.” — The New Yorker