Saturday, June 14, 2014

Sokurovin ääni / The Voice of Sokurov (in the presence of Leena Kilpeläinen)

FI 2014
D: Leena Kilpeläinen
SC: Leena Kilpeläinen, Velipekka Makkonen (original idea)
DP: Leena Kilpeläinen, Alexander Burov
ED: Tambet Tasuja
S: Ivo Felt, Jari Kokko
M: Timo-Juhani Kyllönen
Featuring: Aleksandr Sokurov / Alexander Sokurov
PC: Revolver Film Ou, LM-Media GmbH, Illume Oy
P: Merja Ritola
Print: Illume Oy
Format: DCP
Language: Russian
Subtitles: English
84 min
    An Illume 2K DCP with English subtitles viewed at The Little Tent, in the presence of Leena Kilpeläinen, Sodankylä (Midnight Sun Film Festival), 14 June 2014

Lauri Timonen in the Midnight Sun Film Festival Catalogue 2014: "Alexandr Sokurov (born 1951) may well be the internationally best-known Russian director of his generation, but for this artist true to his own voice, the journey in the maelstrom of the System and in the midst of the power wielding and the corruption on the fringes of the film industry has been far from easy. At one time, he received help propelling him forward from e.g. his teacher Andrei Tarkovsky, who himself knew one thing or another of the depravity of the system."

"Against this backdrop, it is magnificent to see and hear Sokurov – a wise, placid and self-taught man – talk about his past and the present state of Russia in the new, excellent documentary by Leena Kilpeläinen. The atmospheric, intense and even spiritual samples of the director’s production supplement the whole, turning it into a polyphonous dialogue between the artist, his works, the Motherland, and history."

"One of the objects of Sokurov’s especial interest is the protection of old buildings being removed to make way for new ostentatious structures. As if surreptitiously, the tragic shutdown of the Russian film studio tradition moves alongside this theme. These immensely enjoyable ninety minutes in the company of an intelligent, thinking person act like a purgative punch of the Kino fist on the screens tarnished by splashes of Coca-Cola and dictator slime." (LT)

A preview of Leena Kilpeläinen's top quality documentary on Alexander Sokurov, a master of world cinema. Five years in the making, based on six lengthy interviews filmed on six different locations in Saint Petersburg, we meet an outspoken artist who covers here his entire life and prolific career. Leena Kilpeläinen told us that the locations were Sokurov's own favourites, where he felt at home. We see Saint Petersburg with Sokurov's eyes.

Chapters include: 1. Day: A Film Artist in Distress, 2. Day: The Limitedness of People, 3. Day: The Heritage of the Past, 4. Day: A Day on the Edge of Life, 5. Day: The Influence of Power, 6. Day: Voice of Loneliness, 7. Day: The Significance of Art.

There is an atmosphere of confidence in this documentary. Sokurov gives an account of his lifelong battle for the integrity of his art. The interview footage is eloquent, and the many illuminating clips have been selected with a good sense of judgement. This is an excellent introduction into the films of Sokurov, and it makes me want to see or revisit his films. I have seen many but not all.

This film covers 35 years of artistic creation in highly varying circumstances: the Brezhnevian years of stagnation, the Perestroika, the fall of the CPSU dictatorship, the years of liberty, and the current Putinian neo-reactionary backlash.

It is an account of the spiritual journey of Alexander Sokurov - and of Russia seen with the eyes of a great artist, a worthy successor to the great tradition of artists who have been mouthpieces for the uncomfortable truth.

Even rougher notes (apologies for mistakes and unclarities, all mine)

Prologue: Lenfilm - I rely on my taste - the opportunity to work is vital for me.

1. Day: A Film Artist in Distress, - I studied history - because of the censorship, I had to leave tv - F: The Lonely Voice of Man - Platonov was a banned author - basing my film on him it was banned, too, on principle - I had Tarkovsky's support - strong close-ups - we had to fight - we broke into the VGIK vaults - to replace the reels to be destroyed - there was no reason to believe anyone would see this film - I finished with a tv doc - F: Maria - the role of a woman in a rural social system - no secrets for me there - a poetic form - she was an extraordinary person - when I later heard that Maria Semyonova had died there were rumours of suicide - her family was broken - she was such a light person - truly wondrous people - a doc in the Far East, a place to realize my theme - ♪ Rachmaninov: Prelude in g minor, Op. 23 No. 5 - Lenfilm was the only place to survive

2. Day: The Limitedness of People, - I come from a simple family - self-educated - my aesthetics did not fit with socialist realism - a man is the creature I fear the most - eroticism mostly disappeared forever - F: Mournful Unconcern - the instinct against fighting destruction - explosions, mass destruction - people as a community are incapable of saving themselves - ♪ Michał Kleofas Ogiński: "Pożegnanie Ojczyzny (Polonez Ogińskiego)" (1794) - Churchill, Stalin - 3 September 1939 - atrocities of war, executions - Russians pay with life - death for victory - East meets West - another film now locked so no one can see it - I was about to go to jail - but you have to keep fighting

3. Day: The Heritage of the Past, - Karakum desert - F: Days of Eclipse - a place of absolute despair - people stripped of everything - qf. Stalin's gulag - but they were as if sensing something - I was lucky with the perestroika - it was released without problems - I had an opportunity to show what his world was like - to write, imagine of the Devil - cinema is not your entire life - it's worth a life - kids just stared at us - холодна, it's cold - ascent to Heaven - I don't know what's currently happening - I try to resist modern times - the energy, the threat of a crowd - people lose their heads in a crowd - the complexity and cruelty of energy - today no less cruel - I lost the people - the quality of education - the upbringing is plummeting - the character is destroyed - the best of us turn to predators - the police confiscate paintings - the old order may return

4. Day: A Day on the Edge of Life, - a cemetery - censorship disappeared - the freedom to create is abruptly decreasing - stopped working - the two Chechen wars - a lot of young people suffered - war is dirty in every way - F: The Second Circle - a corpse in the snow - simple tasks - cancer patient - F: Stone - Chekhov - laser - multilayered image - painting an audiovisual artistic image - Chekhov covered by snow - the personality of an author - the son and the mother - intense concentration on the human being - a person only needs another person - films that touch scary subjects

5. Day: The Influence of Power, - Faust - in my distress the only thing left to do was ask Putin for financial support - within hours it was settled - F: Faust, the pact with the Devil - Hitler: the politics to deceive and to manipulate - laws bring out basest instincts - F: newsreel footage of Lenin and Stalin - socialism unfortunately came to be realized by Russians - violence was the only way - someone had to try - it takes two or three generations for a new Russia to emerge - reason is never a virtue - F: Solntse - no religion stands up against war - they only talk about duty - even in Europe there is not a single leader - F: imagery of nuclear or similar destruction

6. Day: Voice of Loneliness, - a kaleidoscope of lifestyles - - какой странный город, what a strange city - the military families were better educated - constantly on the move - Krasnovorsk - every nation represented - we did not judge each other - the Caspian sea - the smell of lilies - the large oil refinery - I have never illustrated my own life - F: Father and son - it was seen as homosexual - F: Alexandra - this is not an easy lifestyle - F: Spiritual Voices - it was time to return to Russia

7. Day: The Significance of Art,- I am an urban conservative activist - the destruction of urban heritage - the same thing happened to Lenfilm - 12 March 2013 Sokurov left Lenfilm - they promised not to privatize it - it ended up with people of dubious reputations - Lenfilm was a bastion of sobriety - it did not fulfill party orders - the focus was on the individual - F: Moscow Elegy - Andrei Tarkovsky - the silent era produced sounder humanistic manifests - tv is ideological - US cinema is visual merchandize - the lack of principles - F: Elegy of Life - culture is a beautiful swamp - we are creatures of God - F: The Russian Ark - cinema still hasn't formed fully a language of its own - in 1935 already Louvre started to evacuate - F: A Humble Life - the house is 130 years old - sewing kimonos - how a mourning kimono is made

Fiction films

    The Lonely Voice of Man (Одинокий голос человека, 1978–1987)
    The Degraded (Разжалованный, 1980)
    Mournful Unconcern (Скорбное бесчувствие, 1983–1987)
    Empire (Ампир, 1986)
    Days of Eclipse (Дни затмения, 1988)
    Save and Protect (Спаси и сохрани, 1989)
    The Second Circle (Круг второй, 1990)
    Stone (Камень, 1992)
    Whispering Pages (Тихие страницы, 1993)
    Mother and Son (Мать и сын, 1997)
    Moloch (Молох, 1999)
    Taurus (Телец, 2001)
    Russian Ark (Русский ковчег, 2002)
    Father and Son (Отец и сын, 2003)
    The Sun (Солнце, 2004)
    Alexandra (Александра, 2007)
    Faust (Фауст, 2011)
    Two Brothers and a Sister (TBC)

Documentaries

    Maria (Peasant Elegy) (1978–1988)
    Sonata for Hitler (1979–1989)
    Sonata for Viola. Dmitri Shostakovitch (1981)
    And Nothing More (1982–1987)
    Evening Sacrifice (1984–1987)
    Patience of Labour (1985–1987)
    Elegy (1986)
    Moscow Elegy (1986–1988)
    Petersburg Elegy (1990)
    Soviet Elegy (1990)
    To The Events In Transcaucasia (1990)
    A Simple Elegy (1990)
    A Retrospection of Leningrad (1957–1990) (1990)
    An Example of Intonation (1991)
    Elegy from Russia (1992)
    A Soldier's Dream (1995)
    Spiritual Voices (1995)
    Oriental Elegy (1996)
    Hubert Robert. A Fortunate Life (1996)
    A Humble Life (1997)
    The St. Petersburg Diary: Inauguration of a monument to Dostoevsky (1997)
    The St. Petersburg Diary: Kosintsev's Flat (1998)
    Confession (1998)
    The Dialogues with Solzhenitsyn (1998)
    dolce… (1999)
    Elegy of a Voyage (2001)
    The St. Petersburg Diary: Mozart. Requiem (2004)
    Elegy of a life: Rostropovich, Vishnevskaya (2006)

1 comment:

Velipekka Makkonen said...

Thank You, Antti! Vp.