Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actor: Aleksandr Sokurov
Director: Aleksandr Sokurov
Genres: Indie & Art House, Special Interests, Documentary
In 1994, Sokurov accompanied Russian troops assigned to a frontier military post at the Tajikistan/Afghanistan border to film their experiences. Though Russia had pulled out of its war with Afghanistan in 1989, a shadowy ... more »
R. J MOSS | Alice Springs, Australia | 12/14/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There have been a number of overwhelming Russian films that seem more authentic and expressive of warring monstrosity than the bulk of American triumphalistic flicks (which only makes,'The Thin Red Line' and,'The Deerhunter' the more exemplary films in this context, and closer in feeling to the searching of their Russian counterparts).I'm recalling Tarakovsky's,'Ivan's Childhood' Elim Klimov's,'Come and See' and Nikita Mikhalov's work on, 'Siberiade' and 'Burnt By the Sun'(Stalinism between the great wars). Having said that, we must remember that the Soviets also produced the greatest propogandist of them all, Roman Karmen, whose zeal and aesthetics possibly shaped the vocabulary for so many budding war films, both in Russia and up to the current coverage from Iraq. Alexander Sokurov will have none of these in ,'Spiritual Voices'. And,'Confession' continues his documentary ouevre on conscripted youth 'imprisioned' in the service of the military state. The opening stanza of,'Voices' has a bare-chested youth standing in a valley trying to catch some buzzing bug, wasping above the grass. The scene's protraction sets the film's pace. Why take a few seconds to 'grab' the drama when the entire event, unrolling in real time, under unflinching scrutiny, and a hostile sun, is worthy of note. Time is perceived as a burden the equal of the threat of a sniper's bullet. Sokurov, of course, does edit, does have a point of view, does use a bleached palette, does narrate. For all of its candour, none of the camera work is random. Sokurov's framing of figure to ground is as balanced as any of Tarakovsky's, who is often cited as an influence. Take for instance, a gentle swing from head to foot, an anatomy of a soldier on sentry, which votively dwells on his boots in the manner of Van Gogh. The body language, the quips about life beyond the tour of duty, speak of the drudgery and ennui disarmingly as no script could contrive.I must add, with touristic topographic flourish, that this zone of the planet could well have been filmed (heaven forbid) from my backyard in the Central MacDonnell Ranges of Australia. The impact of the deglamorized, tedious, repetitive but imperilled labour of young bodies whose faces have been deanimated almost to catatonia, has immense power. This examination of the power of the state is given a different slant than in his masterful,'Russian Ark', but is in every way as compelling."