EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|MOTHER AND SON (MAT I SYN) (director/writer: Aleksandr Sokurov; screenwriter: Yuri Arabov; cinematographer: Aleksei Fyodorov; editor: Leda Semyonova; music: Glinka/Otmar Nussio/Verdi; cast: Gudrun Geyer (Mother), Aleksei Ananishnov (Son); Runtime: 72; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Thomas Kufus; Kino Video; 1997-Russia-in Russian with English subtitles)|
|"This is a dreamlike film that
demands to be seen again and again, not because
it's so complex but because it's so simple, moving, universal and
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Caspar David Friedrich, the
19th-century German Romantic painter, was noted Russian director
Aleksandr Sokurov's ("Moscow Elegy"/"Moloch"/"Russian Ark") inspiration
for his heartwarming landscape
friendly painterly film Mother and Son. The stunning landscapes
of the golden fields, the dark woods, the beach and the hilly terrain
is captured in all its splendor by cinematographer
Aleksei Fyodorov, who used
special lenses to give it a memorable arty touch. It's cowritten by Sokurov
and Yuri Arabov, who keep
the mood spiritually reverent as if we were viewing this elegy when
hypnotized in the netherworld
drama is muted and the dialogue is sparse in this free of narrative,
plotless and action-less story about a dutiful grown son (Aleksei Ananishnov) attending to his dying mother (Gudrun Geyer) with great tenderness in their small
stone cottage that stands isolated in an idyllic country setting, where
no other people are seen. The son whispers to her and they talk
about sharing the same nightmarish dreams; he combs her hair and
through her pain while choking. When she asks to be taken outdoors,
he notes how small she has become and cradles her in his arms to carry
her to the open
fields. At a nearby beach he reads an old postcard to
her, in which she doesn't identify the author when asked. Afterwards
she goes to sleep, and the son walks in the fields alone and shows his
anguish. He returns for a few last words, before she passes away.
Sokurov lets in the outside through
sounds such as a passing train, the wind, a barking dog, the buzzing of
a fly, a chirping bird, a roll of thunder and, off in the distance, we
can faintly make out the sound of the sea.
Americans, for the most part, can't make such slow-paced films that have no commercial value, that demand the viewer see things in the sensitive way an artist does. Words alone cannot do justice in describing such transcendent beauty, such intimacy, such showing of grief and sublime lyrical visuals, in this unique film by one of the world's greatest living artists. This is a dreamlike film that demands to be seen again and again, not because it's so complex but because it's so simple, moving, universal and relevant.
REVIEWED ON 4/29/2010 GRADE: A+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ