The existential protagonist is a hungry, homeless, socially isolated, and socially alienated young man living on the streets of an anonymous Russian big city in the 19th Century. He's ... See full summary »
A father and his son live together in a roof-top apartment. They have lived alone for years in their own private world, full of memories and daily rites. Sometimes they seem like brothers. ... See full summary »
At first, I had some trouble getting what the film is all about - and even watching it, as I thought the projectionist had put on a wrong lens. Only later I understood that Sokurov often uses distorting lenses when filming, which makes the characters in many scenes look like skinny Giacometti sculptures.
Still, when I finally got the point, the films meaning unfolded with a wonderful intensity. A young man, an occasional housekeeper at an abandoned countryside manor, meets an old man sporting strange behavior: He touches his own body with amazement and says that everything in the house looks familiar to him and strange at the same time. What is never openly stated: this man is a former inhabitant of the house who has returned from the dead. He is not able to convey the joy to have his physical sensations regained to the young man, who remains a cynical, world-despising character; he is also not able to talk clearly about the afterlife, an experience that escapes words.
Like other films of Sokurov, this one is extremely slow moving, with characters whispering sparse and highly condensed dialogue. Everything important is only said once, or never at all. Sokurov knows, as every good film director should, that not everything can be said and shown, and he knows how to keep a secret: He creates a dreamlike atmosphere which leaves plenty of space for the viewer to detect the unspeakable, invisible behind things.
Sokurov is definitely a master and one of the most important figures in present day cinema.
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