Friday, October 22, 2010

Aleksandr Sokurov - Zhertva vechernyaya AKA The Evening Sacrifice (1987)

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Sokurov shows the official manifestation and fireworks on the 1st of May, one of the ritual celebrations of Soviet times, as a gathering of tired participants of a mass scene falling into pieces without the director’s orders and without any aims. Outbursts of joy without reason, mixed here and there with equally unmotivated signs of anxiety are given in brief sketches of a restless and pitiful crowd. A part instead of the whole, individual instead of common, a symbol growing up from details are the postulates of Eisenstein’s representation of the “people’s masses,” both the chorus and the protagonist of the Soviet official culture. Sokurov revises these postulates in the context of our time when the chorus has gone out of action, both in the aesthetic and in the social sense, and the protagonist is absent. However, both chorus and soloist are introduced into the picture of the festivity by the hand of the author: Sokurov puts a church canticle into the soundtrack of the film. It is an evening Orthodox prayer of repentance: “let my prayer be like incense before Thou, like my hands uplifted, an evening sacrifice.”

© Alexandra Tuchinskaya

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Subtitles:Italian Hardsubbed