Aleksandr Sokurov

Semyon Aranovich & Aleksandr Sokurov – Altovaya sonata. Dmitriy Shostakovich aka Sonata for viola (1981)

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
A deeply moving and reverent biopic of Soviet composer and pianist Dmitri Shostakovich. It’s co-directed by Aleksandr Sokurov (“The Russian Ark”) and veteran filmmaker Semyon Aranovich. Shostakovich was born in St. Petersburg in 1906 and died in Moscow in 1975. The understated black-and-white biopic follows Shostakovich as a frail young man as seen through photographs and traces his life through personal documents, recorded appearances, and concert performances of his work set against archival footage of daily life in the Soviet Union. It shows him during his glory days of early critical acclaim until his disfavor under Stalin because of his political views and struggle for creative freedom. He was honored in 1958, five years after Stalin’s death, by his country, as he was awarded the second Order of Lenin after graciously not accepting it a year earlier in order for the first Order of Lenin to be posthumously awarded to Sergei Prokofiev. He was recognized for his genius in composing the 7th Symphony during the Second World War, which was an uplifting reminder of the war. It opens with the scene set in a besieged Leningrad. Shostakovich’s dream was to bring his music to the masses and give his people an appreciation for their rich culture. The title comes about because Shostakovich’s “Sonata for Violin” was the only work he composed that he never heard performed. The film, made in 1981, was discovered after it was buried to hide it from the KGB, who at an earlier date banned it.
Read More »

Aleksandr Sokurov – Odinokiy golos cheloveka aka The Lonely Voice Of Man (1987)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Made in 1977, and only finally released in 1987, this is Sokurov’s first feature-length film. Extraordinarily beautiful, utilising an array of unusual stylistic devices, it seems as if Sokurov’s style was fully formed from the outset. A sublime meditation on love, loneliness, life and death, it still stands as one of his finest achievements. Read More »

Aleksandr Sokurov – Vostochnaya elegiya AKA Oriental Elegy (1996)

http://img171.imageshack.us/img171/7348/cover005.jpg

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
Oriental Elegy (1996). Visually impressionistic, atmospherically dense, and narratively opaque, Oriental Elegy is the surreal journey of a displaced spirit (Aleksandr Sokurov) as he wanders in the interminable darkness through the temporal landscape of a quaint and isolated feudal-era fishing village. Guided by a series of faintly illuminated rooms, the wandering spirit comes upon ancient souls who take on physical forms as they recount their personal stories of daily existence, loss, and tragedy in the peasant community. Intrigued by his initial visit to a curiously distracted elderly woman, the spirit returns to her home in order to ask a fundamental question – “What is happiness?” – an existential query that is innocently answered with innate humility and accepted unknowingness. Through abstractly textured imagery and indelibly hypnotic dreamscapes, Sokurov composes a metaphoric, sensual, and evocative tone poem on a soul’s search for enlightenment and the essential survival of human consciousness. Read More »

Aleksandr Sokurov – Avtomobil nabiraet nadezhnost AKA The Automobile Gains in Reliability (1974)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

This film was created by Sokurov before or during his VGIK student years for the regional TV of Gorki. He does not consider it a part of his filmography. For its creators, it was just a TV program, and the people who worked on it most often were being given no distinction in the credits. This document of the very origins of Sokurov gives us a notion of his “pre-stylistic” period, where the personality of the future great filmmaker reveals itself in spite of means and circumstances. [from the catalog of Torino Film Festival] Read More »

Aleksandr Sokurov – Krug vtoroy AKA The Second Circle (1990)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
A solitary figure trudges through the inclement weather of a vast, remote Siberian wilderness. An unyielding gust of wind brings the young man (Pyotr Aleksandrov) to his knees as he attempts to avert the caustic, sustained force of the snowstorm, momentarily obscuring him from view, erased from the harsh and desolate landscape. The stark, monochromatic image of the film then cuts to an ironically appropriate impersonal and nondescript official title sequence, as the premature sound of a knock on a door seemingly intrudes on the necessity to present information on the film’s certification. It is a subtle reminder of life’s evolving process: the intrusive nature and unexpected inevitability of death. The film reopens to a jarring, oddly lit image of the gaunt young man standing by the foot of his father’s bed in a cramped and squalid apartment. The dispatched medical technicians dispassionately confirm his father’s death from natural causes, but explain that they cannot issue a death certificate, pragmatically remarking “You should have placed him in a hospital. Everything would have been easier then.” Left alone in theapartment, the son compassionately observes his father’s inanimate countenance before preparing his father’s body for burial: selecting his best suit, bathing him in the snow in the absence of running water in the apartment, transporting his father’s body to the outpatient clinic for a death certificate examination. Without knowing the actual cause of death, the doctor suggests a beaurocratically expedient determination of cancer, rationalizing that “now everything is considered cancer.” Having been issued a death certificate, the son then meets with the undertaker (Nadezhda Rodnova), an abrasive and insensitive businesswoman who is quick to assess the family’s limited means and treats the overwhelmed young man with disrespect and open hostility, especially as the financially strapped son begins to question some ancillary costs included in the itemized funeral bill. As the dutiful son continues to encounter emotional isolation, antipathy, and an impersonal commodification of the burial process, can he restore the sanctity of the ritual and retain the dignity of his beloved father’s memory?
Read More »

Aleksandr Sokurov – Dukhovnye golosa. Iz dnevnikov voyny. Povestvovanie v pyati chastyakh aka Spiritual Voices (1995)

http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B0007LFPKW.01.LZZZZZZZ.jpg

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
The film develops as the author’s diary, where unbiased narration is dissolved in the lyrical intonation. You watch the real persons in the particular circumstances on the screen. They are Russian frontier–guards on the Tadjik–Afghani border. But it is also a piece of art, where aesthetic laws give the theme and arrange the facts taken from life.

That is why the film begins with the story about Mozart, about death concealing under the poor cover of the daily routine, about music, breaking through this cover and absorbing spiritual voices of the Universe. And that’s why the northern landscape is being shown during a long while, motionless and at the same time subtly changing.
Read More »

Aleksandr Sokurov – Aleksandra [+Extras] (2007)

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Russian master Aleksandr Sokurov has produced another majestic achievement with ALEXANDRA. In a rare instance of working from his own original script, Sokurov tells the simple tale of a woman in the twilight of her life who embarks on a special journey. As the story unfolds, Sokurov’s deeper purpose is revealed, resulting in a work that speaks profoundly about the corrosive nature of war. Opera star Galina Vishnevskaya is Alexandra. She hasn’t seen her grandson in seven years and, understanding that her life is coming to an end, she decides to visit him at his army camp in war-torn Chechnya. What at first is a beautiful reunion gradually becomes conflicted, as Alexandra is forced to accept the painful realization that she may no longer be the most important figure in her grandson’s life. Furthermore, the strain the war is placing on these young men, combined with their restrictive conditions, is even harder for her to bear. When her grandson must return to work, Alexandra floats around the camp, having brief but profound interactions with many different soldiers. While these exchanges vary from the humorous to the dramatic, there is a striking purity and simplicity to Sokurov’s overall vision–not to mention Vishnevskaya’s unforgettable, heartbreaking performance–that makes ALEXANDRA feel universal and profound. Read More »