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The Cinema of Alexander SokurovFigures of Paradox$
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Jeremi Szaniawski

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231167352

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231167352.001.0001

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Save and Protect

Save and Protect

Of Angels and Flies

(p.80) Chapter Four Save and Protect
The Cinema of Alexander Sokurov

Jeremi Szaniawski

Columbia University Press

This chapter looks at the film Save and Protect (1989). Save and Protect is an epic and epically strange adaptation of Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary, located in a deliberately vague, timeless southwestern Soviet landscape—focused on the work and temporality of death and its intertwined relationship with human destiny and everyday actions. Within its central character, the film embodies the tensions between corporeality and spirituality, producing a very different final affect than Sokurov's three previous features: Lonely Voice of Man (1978), Mournful Insensitivity (1983), and Days of the Eclipse (1988). The film's plot is shattered into a variety of episodes that are only vaguely related to one another, and which each feature a series of idiosyncratic and recognizable characters. Save and Protect also features a considerable number of secondary characters, all taken, although in warped fashion, from the Flaubert novel. Sokurov has subtly combined the impersonal and demiurgic drives while allowing a place for chance and destiny in this film.

Keywords:   Save and Protect, Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary, death, destiny, corporeality, spirituality

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