Sunday, July 29, 2007

Alexandra (Alexander Sokurov, 2007)

***½
France/Italy/Russia

Alexander Sokurov presents a war film bereft of warfare in his characteristically dreamy, meditative fashion. Russian opera diva Galina Vishnevskaya plays Alexandra, who visits her beloved grandson at his army base, technically situated in Chechnya, though it stands in for every squalid war zone in the world. Sokurov's anger - disguised as it is with serene music and photography - isn't necessarily directed at the state of things in Chechnya but at the state of things in the world and in history as brought on by man's ('man' as in 'not woman', not 'man' as in 'mankind') hollow, destructive war instinct. And although somehwat more indulgent, the picture is marked by the elegance and sincere humanity of his best work.

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