Aleksandr Sokurov

"His preference for long takes and a mobile camera are redolent of his late friend Andrei Tarkovsky... Spiritualist genius or over-solemn cineaste, Sokurov is unique in contemporary cinema, a genuine throwback to a more challenging and auteurist era of filmmaking." - Lloyd Hughes (The Rough Guide to Film, 2007)

Aleksandr Sokurov

Director / Screenwriter
(1951- ) Born June 14, Podorvikha, Irkutskaya oblast, RSFSR, USSR (now Russia)
Top 250 Directors / 21st Century's Top 100 Directors

Key Production Countries: Russia, USSR, France, Germany, Japan, Italy
Key Genres: Drama, Psychological Drama, Avant-garde/Experimental, Period Film, Culture & Society, Documentary
Key Collaborators: Yuri Arabov (Screenwriter), Leda Semyonova (Editor), Aleksey Fyodorov (Cinematographer), Aleksandr Burov (Cinematographer), Sergey Ivanov (Editor), Leonid Mozgovoy (Leading Actor), Thomas Kufus (Producer), Sergei Yurizditsky (Cinematographer), Aleksei Ananishnov (Leading Actor), Aleksandr Cherednik (Leading Actor), Irina Sokolova (Leading Actress), Andrey Deryabin (Producer)

"Original and courageous, Aleksandr Sokurov is one of the most stylistically adventurous directors working at the beginning of the 21st century. Sokurov first made his name with Mother and Son (1997), which was later followed by the equally brilliant Father and Son (2003)." - Ronald Bergan (Film - Eyewitness Companions, 2006)
"Since the late 1980s Sokurov has emerged as a world-class auteur, often placed alongside his mentor Andrei Tarkovsky. They certainly share a predilection for the metaphysical, but Sokurov's work is more consistently grounded in material struggle. This often emerges as the struggle with death, as seen best in his masterpiece, Mat i syn (1997) (Mother and Son), which is fixated on the ebb of life and the unavoidable dissolution of physical attachment." - Nathaniel Carlson (501 Movie Directors, 2007)
"The feeling for nature and relationship is so intense in Mother and Son that I can understand Paul Schrader’s belief that Sokurov is a master worthy of a place in the transcendental tradition. He was a friend to Tarkovsky, but he regards Chekhov as his forming influence. Mother and Son is, on the one hand, minimalist: a 73-minute rhapsody on a mother’s last day of life. On the other, it is a film with that classically large Russian embrace of all of being, something we know from Dovzhenko and Tolstoy. Then two films really revealed Sokurov as a new master—Russian Ark, an immense, single-shot exploration of a museum, and The Sun, a film about Hirohito and clearly one of the great achievements of the 2000s." - David Thomson (The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, 2010)
"Sokurov's films are characterised by poetic imagery, spiritual allusions, big, big themes and long, long takes. They can be challenging to the point of impenetrable, but when they work, the results are undeniably powerful, transcendent even. His international breakthrough, 1997's Mother and Son, struck deep spiritual and emotional chords with little more than two actors and a painterly eye for landscape." - Steve Rose (The Guardian, 2011)
"Something of a high-culture mandarin, Sokurov has said he considers cinema an unnecessary medium, unlike painting, literature and music. While cautioning against the dangerous power of the visual, he maintains that movies belong at the bottom of the cultural totem pole. The irony is that Sokurov has among the strongest signatures of any living filmmaker. Which is to say, he's one of the few capable of reminding us, often in just a few indelible frames, what cinema alone can do." - Dennis Lim (Los Angeles Times, 2013)
"Sokurov's films define a new form of spiritual cinema. Sokurov mixes elements of Transcendental Style - austerity of means, disparity between environment and activity, decisive moment, stasis - with other traditions: visual aestheticism, meditation, and Russian mysticism." - Paul Schrader
TSPDT Guide
Recommended
Mother and Son (1997) , Russian Ark (2002)
Worth a Look
The Lonely Voice of Man (1987), Mournful Unconcern (1987), Days of Eclipse (1988), Save and Protect (1989), The Second Circle (1990), Kamen (1992), Whispering Pages (1993), Spiritual Voices (1995), Confession [TV] (1998), Elegy of a Voyage (2001), The Sun (2005) , Alexandra (2007)
Approach with Caution
Soviet Elegy (1990), Molokh (1999)
Acclaimed Films / IMDB Filmography
1,000 Greatest Films 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films
Amazon Products
Films / Books
    Russian Ark
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