This film is a “sketch” for the five hour documentary Spiritual Voices. The material, shot by Sokurov’s crew on the border of Afghanistan as Russian soldiers carry on with their frontier patrol duties, becomes a parable. The young soldiers resting after their duties personify the difficult and grave task which burdens youth: to ensure peace and calm. A young person on the border between life and death is a recurring poetic motif in Alexander Sokurov’s feature films. Here the documentary footage is transformed into “a soldier on the border of peace and war.” It is a tragic theme — and a very Russian one. —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