The first title for this film was “The Allies.” The film is about the coalition formed between the USSR, Great Britain and the USA against Hitler, formed as rebuff to the aggressive fascism of Germany during the World War II. Unique archive footage from the time, shot by cameramen from the different countries at war, here becomes associated by the film–maker with a contemporary meditation on the post–war destiny of civilisation, on the humanitarian losses for both sides and on finding the uncertain hope for a world unity to counteract evil.
The film is based on unexpected editing tempos, on the musical associations that arrange the images in our minds.
The Allied leaders, Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill, are included in a mosaic of otherwise anonymous but real people, those who determined the character of this tragic epoch as much as these great political figures — if not more so. The tragic atmosphere of the war and the times created in this film was unacceptable for the Central TV authorities even though they had commissioned the film in anticipation of the Fortieth Anniversary of the Victory over Nazi Germany. Sokurov’s film did not answer the requirement of propaganda and was “shelved” — that is, hidden from its spectators. In the Perestroika years, the film was legally shown for the first time. —Sokurov.spb.ru
One of the most important directors in both Russian and world cinema, Alexander Sokurov is considered by many to be the spiritual heir of the great Andrei Tarkovsky. Sokurov — who has enjoyed a long creative relationship with Tarkovsky — has discounted such comparisons, but certain similarities between their works remain indelible: a predilection towards very long takes, natural performances by their actors, and an almost otherworldly use of natural sounds and music. And, perhaps most important, both directors are concerned with the essential questions of human existence and the state of the human spirit.
Sokurov was the son of a World War II veteran. His family moved around a good deal while Sokurov was growing up, and after finishing high school, he went to Gorki, Russia’s third largest city. There, he attended Gorki University and began to work as an assistant television director when he was 19. He continued to direct television programs for the Gorki station until 1975, and… read more