A 19th century French aristocrat, notorious for his scathing memoirs about life in Russia, travels through the Russian State Hermitage Museum and encounters historical figures from the last 200+ years.
Originally a five-part semi-documentary series on Russian television, this scaled down release tells the story of a Russian naval commander in charge of an Arctic-based ship. The film ... See full summary »
Aleksander Sokurov brings the treasures of the Hermitage back into the light by making films about artists and their paintings. He has chosen the painter Hubert Robert, who spent a long ... See full summary »
Although this film was made in 1990 it is quite a good critique of the Soviet view of life and (especially) death. It is shot in a beautiful grainy black and white (or sepia and white) with some colors added as in Eisenstein's Ivan the Terrible, Part II. It has the look of a much earlier (1920's to 30's) Soviet film. The film takes place in a bleak Siberian snowscape of a Soviet industrial small town. The young man's father has died and he has trouble making meaning of the event. The frames of the film are filled with things--material objects. They overwhelm us (and the young man). The System treats the dead man as one of the objects, and help lead us to the inner despair of the hero. There's no hint of the 19th-century "beautiful death" idea here, let alone the American tradition of denying death's reality. The idea of a purely materialist world view is ever-present in this film. Probably the most stunning moment in this film has been mentioned by the other reviewers. I won't give it away any further. Suffice it to say that you will know it when you see it.
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