Aleksander Sokurov brings the treasures of the Hermitage back into the light by making films about artists and their paintings. He has chosen the painter Hubert Robert, who spent a long time in Italy, and whose preference was for creating ancient ruined landscapes and naturalistic portrayals of times past. He was successful with the wealthy, who bought his works from him. The camera pans across the paintings while Sokurov speaks of a happy era, when the artist was at one with the spirit of the times, and agreed with the taste of his clients. Just how far removed from us this is, is shown by pictures of a “Nô” performance which are inter-cut on the screen. No words are necessary to describe what everybody knows today. —IMDb
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