From a misty night into the dark exposition rooms of a museum to ponder philosophically at paintings by 'Pieter Jansz Saenredam', 'Hercules Pieterszoon Seghers', Hendrikus van de Sande ... See full summary »
From a misty night into the dark exposition rooms of a museum to ponder philosophically at paintings by 'Pieter Jansz Saenredam', 'Hercules Pieterszoon Seghers', Hendrikus van de Sande Bakhuyzen, Andreas Schelfhout, Vincent van Gogh, Pieter Bruegel, Charles Henri Joseph Leickert. Written by
Here is some interpretation of this wonderful visual poem. It starts in Russia where the narrator (who is only seen as a shade, but seems to be Sokurov) passes through a town while remembering its inhabitants' intense fear of death. Next he observes a baptism in the company of a monk. He wonders why Jesus did not beg to be crucified, as this was his destination. He seems to ask: How could the world be redeemed if even God is afraid of death? He then embarks on a journey, taken along by some unknown force, across Finland and Germany, to the Netherlands. In a motorway restaurant he meets a young Dutchman who talks about how humility taught him love to all people, and how God is equated with love - still very Christian, but a more humanist and functional view of God. This seems to liberate man from all expectations towards God and gives him back the freedom to create himself. Thus, in the end, the observer walks through a paintings gallery (actually the Boymans-Van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam), and just like in the beginning, vaguely remembers a town and its people from an 18th century painting. Everything there is frozen in time, and with a magical gesture he revives life in the picture - while God has probably abandoned this world to create a better one elsewhere (this is not my interpretation, but it's in the text), man can provide life to this world himself. Just my understanding of this film, but, as with all good art, there's much more to it... All images here look like they were filmed on a water surface, but this is not only done to create a dream atmosphere, but also to stress that we are looking at an artificial image - something we tend to recognize in painting but less so in film. It's important here because Sokurov links film to painting.
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