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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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Whispering Pages

Whispering Pages

Death, Nothingness, Memory

(p.119) Chapter Seven Whispering Pages
The Cinema of Alexander Sokurov

Jeremi Szaniawski

Columbia University Press

This chapter considers Whispering Pages (1994). Whispering Pages is the final instalment in “the trilogy of death and nothingness” (an aesthetic and thematically driven cycle initiated by Sokurov in The Second Circle and continued in The Stone). Based on “motifs from nineteenth century prose,” Whispering Pages boasts a significantly different approach to literary sources and characters, and exposes what is quintessentially Sokurovian within his previous efforts: a fragmentary regime akin to the workings of memory, bathed in a tone and atmosphere of seriousness, and ponderous in its moralism, with a strong interest in discussions of faith. Characters are either spending time with a ghost, roaming limbo, or making a fugacious escape from the beyond into the present. In many ways, Whispering Pages can be interpreted as the last hours of the unrepentant criminal soul, torn by the consequences of its crime, prior to eternal damnation. It is ultimately a despondent text, dominated by motifs of suicide, numb guilt, disappearance, and somnambulistic wanderings.

Keywords:   Whispering Pages, death, nothingness, memory, faith, crime, suicide, guilt

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