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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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Mother and Son

Mother and Son

Time Abolished, Time Transfigured

(p.126) Chapter Eight Mother and Son
The Cinema of Alexander Sokurov

Jeremi Szaniawski

Columbia University Press

This chapter reviews Alexander Sokurov's Mother and Son (1997). Sokurov's earlier film, Whispering Pages, is a vastly dark, despondent operation, one of gloom and despair, featuring a character secluded from nature, in a limbo comprised of dark buildings and stagnant waters. Mother and Son proposes quite a different picture: one of coexistence, of communion in and with nature (albeit a vastly indifferent, sublime nature), of characters who are reconciled with the laws of the universe and who stoically marvel at its overwhelming beauty through lush, painterly landscapes. Throughout the film, the influence of many artists, from El Greco to Caspar David Friedrich, is evident. These obvious references to various painters speak to Sokurov's professed admiration for the old masters and to his disdain for modernism and twentieth-century art. Mother and Son's thematic undercurrent addresses the reality of the passing of time, suspended so notably throughout the rest of the film, wherein death has no actual lease, filled with immortal landscapes and immortal people.

Keywords:   Mother and Son, Whispering Pages, nature, landscapes, art, time, death, immortal people

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