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Mother and Son (1997)
"Mat i syn" (original title)

 |  Drama  |  6 February 1998 (USA)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 2,635 users  
Reviews: 32 user | 24 critic

A slow and poignant story of love and patience told via a dying mother nursed by her devoted son. The simple narrative is a thread woven among the deeply spiritual images of the countryside... See full summary »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Aleksei Ananishnov ...
Son
Gudrun Geyer ...
Mother
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Storyline

A slow and poignant story of love and patience told via a dying mother nursed by her devoted son. The simple narrative is a thread woven among the deeply spiritual images of the countryside and cottage. Written by Archie Moore <ar.moore@student.qut.edu.au>

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Drama

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6 February 1998 (USA)  »

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Mother and Son  »

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1.66 : 1
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On the "Opie & Anthony" radio show, comedian Louis C.K. talked about seeing this film at the famous Castro Theater in San Francisco. Incorrectly remembering the title as "Father and Mother", he described it as a Russian film in which nothing happens for long periods of time. He also said that it was worth giving the benefit of the doubt because it was interesting and he'd never seen anything like it. See more »

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User Reviews

 
10/10
25 January 2005 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

After opening with a distorted tableau, Sokurov moves slowly into images of stones, grass; he's a naturalist who's addicted to nature; a humanist who's dedicated to the intimate. (The mother and son in his film are not characters or types or ciphers or "performances.") The camera movements are so beautifully slow that they're hard to describe -- imagine the precision of "Ordet" had it been made in color, those images still and hazy, like pastoral paintings with glowing hues of light. They're some of the purest images I've ever seen, comparable to "Barry Lyndon" and "McCabe & Mrs. Miller." What is so startling is that the color makes the film seem modern -- and such a hazy yet lucid color, Maddin-like in its Expressionism and schemes: fable-like and emotionally incestuous. It exists outside time, its only indicator a train within the film; existential emptiness represented visually. The film passes by quickly, with the perpetual wind that sounds like the ocean. It's as if the film is a progression of the most beautiful visions imaginable, the various images of death.

It is something different -- art should be unique, if we're talking about art in the vein of Picasso, Shakespeare, and Bach, shouldn't it be an experience like no other? In fact, this could easily be compared to Tarkovsky, the most obvious comparison. But for me it feels more like Dreyer without the self-conscious dialogue. It couldn't be said to be complex -- it's two characters talking rather simply. But what it lacks in complexity it makes up for in singularity. (The images are at times so rich that it's almost comical -- is this a film set or not?) It's the kind of film that's easy to make fun of, intruding on the most personal moments of this pathetic-looking mother and her son who constantly speaks in a hushed tone -- you imagine one of those "Seinfeld" Village Voice parodies. It isn't emotional or intellectual; I don't even know if it's profound. But it's a masterpiece, plain and simple. 10/10


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