DENNIS SCHWARTZ 
IS THERE ANY GOOD 
IN SAYING 
EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?

 
ORIENTAL ELEGY (Vostochnaya elegiya) (director/writer: Aleksandr Sokurov; cinematographer: Aleksei Fyodorov; cast: Aleksandr Sokurov (Narrator); Runtime: 43; MPAA Rating: NR; Medici Arts; 1996-Russia/Japan- in Russian/Japanese with English subtitles)

 
"Sokurov brilliantly delivers a poetical and visually evocative soul searching film, that translates in a lively manner to the screen."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

An opaque atmospheric elegy from noted Russian filmmaker Aleksandr Sokurov ("The Sun"/"Father and Son"/"Russian Ark"), that is the first among his "Japanese" videos. Sokurov is a displaced spirit wandering a strange dreamscape of darkness in an isolated fishing village during feudal times. The spirit encounters a few ancient souls who take on a human body. They answer questions the spirit asks, such as What is happiness? and How many men change after death? The peasants tell of their life experiences, their losses and whatever they can recall about their former lives that was a burden. The spirit is especially intrigued by an elderly woman, who gives existential responses to her former life experiences. Throughout the imagery is stunning and the meditation aspects of the film are hypnotic. 

Sokurov brilliantly delivers a poetical and visually evocative soul searching film, that translates in a lively manner to the screen.

REVIEWED ON 10/2/2009       GRADE: A

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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