Article published on Nov. 19, 2007
community published
Article published on Nov. 19, 2007
Russia, France, 2007 : Alexandre Sokurov Director : Galina Vishenevskaya, Vasily Shevtsov Performers Aleksandra is an elderly woman, over 70 years old, who visits her grandson’s home. He is a young officer who lives in a war camp in Chechenya .
On her family visit, Aleksandra, very well performed by the soprano Galina Vishenskaya, notices that the furniture has been replaced by war tanks, that the pleasure of the shower is cut by the oversight of those wearing blood-spotted overalls, that people eat less than they consume, and they become exhausted in a profession that leaves them with psychological consequences as an annuity. In this home sketched by the Russian film maker Alexander Sokurov, there are neither tea nor cookies for the afternoon snack , but young people of barely 20 years who, covered by the desert dust, are waiting for a faceless enemy.


The film that competes these days in the Official Section of European Film Festival in Sevilla, as it did in the Cannes Film Festival, rises over an exquisite staging : it’s interesting how the director uses the elderly woman’s lack of mobility to emphasize the abruptness of the warlike location, or how the photography is designed as yellow and scorching as the dishcloth of the kilometric esplanades wrapping the camp. In almost an hour and a half of the film, Sokurov slowly creates a state of growing drive in the spectator, which stresses the fact that the war, a practice that should be exceptional as regards mankind relationships, has become a routine. This very well-known Russian film maker, worshipper of “The Mirror” (1974) by Andrei Tarkowsky, creator of half a hundred works among which is the trilogy of the totalitarian personalities: Molokk (1999) about Hitler, Taurus (2001) about Lenin and The Sun (2004) about the Emperor Hiro Hito, seems to have it clear. Whether we like it or not, this thing of cleaning weapons is the daily bread in many villages of the world, and Alexandra ( 2007) follows the position he took over thirty years ago: to denounce it like a film poetry that, pleasant or unpleasant, at least doesn’t leave us indifferent.

Paola García Costas

Translated by

Diana Irene Arancibia