An ancient, solitary house lost in the remote mountains of the village of Aska, in Japan. Inside the house lives an old solitary woman, whose humble life is made of little and silent tasks and traditions whose origins are lost in time: stitching kimonos, cooking, eating, keeping the fire alight, combing her hair, reciting unadorned a haicai, a prayer on solitude. With music from Japanese folklore and melodies from Tchaikovsky, Sokurov creates a poem in images which recalls a culture thousands of years old and his own feelings of nostalgia for his native Russia. Read More »
Two elderly women, who have led remarkable lives, live deep in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. One, born in Russia, fell in love with a Kurdish student and set off to his native village here, where she spent the rest of her life filled with pain, turbulence and violence sparked by war. The other, a matron in the true sense of the word has witnessed numerous deaths and unexplained disappearances of the members of her large family. Their movements are calm, full of determination and wisdom that only old age can bring.
Simple lives that at the same time possess poetic dreamlike qualities, transparent, yet full of profound mystery are an ode to the joy of the ordinary life. Read More »
A documentary film about the agricultural development in the region of Gorky: the everyday life in a sovkhoz, the building of a reservoir and of a greenhouse. Read More »
Sokurov shows the official manifestation and fireworks on the 1st of May, one of the ritual celebrations of Soviet times, as a gathering of tired participants of a mass scene falling into pieces without the director’s orders and without any aims. Outbursts of joy without reason, mixed here and there with equally unmotivated signs of anxiety are given in brief sketches of a restless and pitiful crowd. A part instead of the whole, individual instead of common, a symbol growing up from details are the postulates of Eisenstein’s representation of the “people’s masses,” both the chorus and the protagonist of the Soviet official culture. Sokurov revises these postulates in the context of our time when the chorus has gone out of action, both in the aesthetic and in the social sense, and the protagonist is absent. However, both chorus and soloist are introduced into the picture of the festivity by the hand of the author: Sokurov puts a church canticle into the soundtrack of the film. It is an evening Orthodox prayer of repentance: “let my prayer be like incense before Thou, like my hands uplifted, an evening sacrifice.” Read More »
Set to the music of Bach and Penderecki, Sonata for Hitler weaves together a bank of images from German and Soviet archive footage, drawing out a psychological dimension from the historical landscape at the end of World War II.
Alexander Sokurov’s Sonata for Hitler was banned by the Soviet authorities in his home country of Russia and was not released until a decade after it was completed. Much of his early work, in fact, was considered ‘anti-communist’ and remained unseen for years. It was not until 1996 that he produced his first internationally acclaimed feature, Mother and Son.
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– Sokurov directed and filmed Mozart’s Requiem for the Rossica Choir in the wonderful hall of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic. Preceded by his student film, inspired by La Traviata.
The first night of a performance of Mozart’s Requiem staged by Alexander Sokurov, with the Rossica choir from St. Petersburg, led by Valentina Kopylova-Pantchenko, took place in the small hall of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic at the end of the winter of 2003. The choir holds a special place in this presentation of the Requiem – it is the main actor and plays the main role. The director was looking to give a new resonance to classical music in both an aesthetic as well as a musical context. On stage, the action takes place in a clear, simple, dynamic and beautiful way, within the space of a magnificent hall. The performance was a surprising revelation even for music-lovers. Read More »
Plot (source IMDB): In the 20’s an enthusiast radio amateur, Fyodor Lbov, experiments one of the first short-waves radio in the city of Gorky. Read More »