Archive for October 23rd, 2009

mother and son 1

(Russia/Germany 1997 71m) DVD1/2

Aka. Mat I syn

I am seized by a suffocating nightmare

p  Thomas Kufus  d  Alexandr Sokurov  w  Yuri Arabov  ph  Alexei Yodorov  ed  Leda Semyonova  m  Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka, Otmar Nussio, Giuseppe Verdi  art  Vera Zelinskaya

Alexei Ananishov (son), Gudrun Geyer (mother),

I remember discussing Sokurov’s film soon after I first saw it with a fellow film buff who asked me how bleak it was on a scale of 1 to 10.  I told him, without resorting to simple numbers, that, to quote the hyperbole comparisons favoured by many critics these days, it made Robert Bresson look like Oliver Stone.  He nearly choked on his Kia-Ora, and simply said “shit!” in a sort of slow drawl worthy of comparison to Clay Davis the corrupt grafter in The Wire

            I wasn’t exaggerating any.  It’s also one of the simplest films of its era.  It focuses on the last hours of a dying middle-aged mother in a harsh, remote land not too far from the sea.  We’re not entirely sure of her malady – possibly a heart defect – we only know that it’s fatal and that her days are very much numbered.  She is tended to by her adult son who lovingly and painstakingly tries to ensure that her final moments are as restful as can be, carrying her outside to see the countryside – to rest against a birch tree, to lie in the tall grass, to breathe in the sea air and hear the waves cascading against the shore.  Finally, he brings her back to the barn-like dwelling where she eventually expires. (more…)

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