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The Second Circle (1990)

Krug vtoroy (original title)
A man tries to come to terms with his father's death and to deal with the mundane details of his burial in a society cut off from spirituality.


Aleksandr Sokurov


Yuriy Arabov
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Pyotr Aleksandrov Pyotr Aleksandrov
Nadezhda Rodnova Nadezhda Rodnova
Tamara Timofeeva
Aleksandr Bystryakov Aleksandr Bystryakov
R. Molokeyev R. Molokeyev
D. Samokhin D. Samokhin
N. Sidash N. Sidash
O. Ignatov O. Ignatov
F. Potapov F. Potapov
Sergei Vybornov Sergei Vybornov ... (as S. Vybornov)
Andrei Tenetko Andrei Tenetko ... (as A. Tenetko)
Stepan Krylov
V. Zhupikov V. Zhupikov
A. Popov A. Popov
I. Butenin I. Butenin
Learn more

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A man tries to come to terms with his father's death and to deal with the mundane details of his burial in a society cut off from spirituality.

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User Reviews

Minimalistic masterpiece by tarkovsky's foremost pupil
14 December 1999 | by blaakmeerSee all my reviews

The first time I saw Aleksander Sokurov's 'The Second Circle' was during a festival in Groningen, The Netherlands. During the credits that opened the film I thought it would have been better to go home and have a nap. Not because of the credits, they were as forbidding as in other Russian films, but because of my condition, severely undermined by lack of sleep and by the bombardment of Greenaway's 'Prospero's Books'. Anyone who goes to see a Sokurov film in those conditions runs the risk of annoying his fellow viewers with loud snoring. Sokurov's aim is not to keep his audience awake by providing entertainment. You have to be in the best of shapes. Or so I thought. What followed was one and a half hours of utmost concentration on a very slow film the dramatic content of which can be summarized in a few sentences. 'The Second Circle' is one of the most beautiful films I have ever seen. A son returns to the humble abode of his father after receiving the news of his death. We do not learn who he was and in the same way we learn nothing about the son who has to arrange his funeral. What we do see is a room with a bed. In the bed is a corpse. In case of a corpse there is a strict procedure that has to be followed. A doctor has to confirm the death. The only survivor has to pay a visit to the town hall. A bitch (pardon my French) from the funeral parlor arrives to negotiate the price of the funeral, treating the son like an infant. A coffin is delivered, the corpse is embalmed, put in the coffin and taken down the stairs in upright position. What is left behind is an empty room. The End. As is the case with all Russian films that are favoured by the small circle of cinephiles, you can ask yourself what Sokurov's films are all about. 'Days of Darkness' for instance was a magnificent film, but as a western viewer, not familiar with Russian symbolism, you had to wonder whether you had missed the point. According to Andrei Tarkovsky, Sokurov's shining example, the Russian frame of mind is inaccessible to western viewers. The result is endless interpretation. This is true as well for 'The Second Circle', which has led to elaborate speculation concerning the way in which Sokurov comments on contemporary Russian society. But anyone searching for symbolism in 'The Second Circle' is in my view looking at the wrong film, because Sokurov's little masterpiece is as clear as crystal. The preoccupation with death was already present in films like the aforementioned 'Days of Darkness' and in 'Madame Bovary'. In 'The Second Circle' Sokurov has stripped away the mystifying elements of his previous films and laid bare the essence of our frail existence using minimalistic means. Never before in cinema, in which death is often a welcome guest, has the inevitable goal of human life been lit so poignantly.

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Official Sites:

International Film Circuit


Soviet Union



Release Date:

25 October 1991 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

A második kör See more »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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