Maria is a film requiem for a Russian peasant woman, Maria Semionovna Voinova. Maria Semionovna had grown flax all her life. When she died her knowledge of working in the fields and the methods of agriculture died with her. They remain lost forever since she hadn’t been able to pass this information on to her family: her son had tragically died and her daughter refused to work in the field. In all likelihood, she would leave the farming village.
The film is in two chapters. The first chapter consists of an impression of Maria Semionovna, scenes of the colours of summer time: haymaking, bathing in a river, work in the flax fields and a holiday in the Crimea (something that happens very rarely in the life of a peasant — especially during summer). These are the impressions of someone who is a citydweller — the maker of this film. The purpose of the film is to communicate this impression to the audience, to plunge the spectators into the pastoral atmosphere. But the second half shows a bitter fate. Nine years have gone by and these years have brought changes: people have gone, people hare arrived.
The second chapter is in black and white and deals with how Maria Semionovna’s life ended. The mood is one of a sad and elegiac narration. The filmmaker intended to communicate a whole panorama of the fate of a particular person in a particular set of circumstances. —http://www.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