EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|MOSCOW ELEGY (MOSKOVSKAYA ELEGIYA) (director/writer: Alexander Sokurov; cinematographer: Aleksandr Burov; cast: Andrei Tarkovsky, Tonino Guerra, Alexander Sokurov (Narrator); Runtime: 90; MPAA Rating: NR; Facets; 1987-Russia-in Russian and Italian with English subtitles)|
|"It's a don't
miss film for fans of the deceased director."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
An elusive and emotionally wrought thinking man's biopic on
the late great exiled Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky, who died of cancer at age 54, in 1987, in
Paris. It has little biographical content, but offers its brooding deep
love for the deceased just after his death. The director,
Alexander Sokurov ("Elegy of a Voyage"/"Mother and
Son"/"Moloch"), was mentored by
his fellow Russian filmmaker Tarkovsky
and is his spiritual heir, and in this meditation on his fellow mystic
filmmaker wishes to mostly let us see him as a reluctant exile in the
West during his final years. Tarkovsky left his beloved Russia because there was
no work for him there.
The highly personal film captures the man's
essence rather than the biographical details of his life. It shows his
humble 13th floor apartment in Moscow, his family's country home, the
elaborate national funeral procession for the rigid Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev in Moscow compared to the small funeral
drawing mostly artists for the more
interesting and humane Tarkovsky in Paris, footage from his films such as Nostalghia
(which was shot in Italy, in 1982), The Mirror, and his final film made
in Sweden called The Sacrifice (1986), and there's even a rare clip of
him as an actor in the 1963 film The Gates of Ilyich. We see glimpses of his second wife, his
sons, photographs of his dead mother and his poet father, and how he
acted on the set while shooting in 1985 The Sacrifice on the windy
island of Gotland.
It's a don't miss film for fans of the
deceased director, others might take to the filmmaker's ongoing
struggle to create art despite pressures from the bureaucratic Soviets
and the difficulties to raise money to shoot in the West. If you're
expecting to see a straight-forward biopic with the usual laundry list
of accomplishments and talking heads, you've gotten hold of the wrong
REVIEWED ON 6/13/2010 GRADE: B+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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