Thursday, August 07, 2008

Мать и сын - Mat i syn (Mother and Son)

OMG! WHAT A MOVIE! This is one the best movies that I’ve ever seen. I believe that the movie is almost impossible to describe, as it is awesome. Each and every scene of this movie should be in a museum, as is the most unbelievable impossible visual succession of incredible paintings! I heard about movies being moving pictures (or photos if you wish), but never imagined that I was going to be able to see moving paintings or that a filmmaker could paint the screen.

Alexandr Sokurov painted the screen with some of the most beautiful paintings you can imagine and he did it with a purpose, to transmit the strongest feelings you can imagine, as there were many moments that tears pour out of my eyes… some moments because what I was seeing was more than breathless and another moments because of the story. Yes, the movie has a sad story, but it is told in the most awesome and beautiful way.

No, I haven’t read about the movie as I’m deeply touched by this movie; my eyes had a wet feast, my heart shrunk, my ears exploded with the outstanding use of sound, and my body contracted and expanded during the entire movie. How could a filmmaker do something like this to me? Absolutely unexpected and unexplainable… but Sukorov totally did it.

You have to see how he used the light (darkness, saturation, and everything else you can imagine), the unbelievable odd camera angles, the editing to trick your eyes, the images distortions, coloration and blur (the lenses, he had to use different lenses); the longest takes with awesome framing (the actors stop and stay still for you to better appreciate the painting), and those sounds that crunch your ears! You have to live all this… but you have to be aware and prepared for the story.

The movie tells about a son and his dying mother and you will see the opening with the mother in bed and his son at his side, he will eventually take her in his arms and take her out of the house to a bench, then with her in his arms will take a long promenade in the county surroundings, he will go back to the house, take her to bed and alone will go for a long-long walk in the country surroundings. He goes back to the house and to the climatic end of the movie. I know I’m sort of spoiling the story, but I wanted to tell you that you will never see any melodramatic moment (which seems so impossible with the story essence) and I need you to imagine all the opportunities Sukorov had to paint the screen.

Now that I burst out all that I had inside of me, I’ll stop and read about the movie. Yes, he used anamorphic lens and here is the story in Alexandr Sukorov words.

“The story is about an ideal human relationship — about love and deep affection between a mother and her son. Neither she nor he loves anybody in this world as much as they love each other. Their love is almost physically palpable, it is the edge, the limit of love, but only beyond it something true lies. It seems that those two are the only people on the entire Earth — no routine, no bustle, no unnecessary things, just a wooden house in the country where the seriously ill mother and her loving son lead a quiet life… To a certain extent the mother and the son are one single creature plunged into the strange and beautiful world of eternal Nature, the world which either has never been visited by Man (and thus nothing has been spoilt) or was forever abandoned by Man long-long ago…”

The story is strong and intense, but non-actors performances are outstandingly good as most is done with expressions, postures and very little dialogue. Then the story is sad, but what actually makes it so powerful is all the technical resources that this master filmmaker used to make you feel absolutely everything, including the love, the despair, and death.

This truly is a masterpiece of real art cinema that has great accolades and here are some of the awards as listed at the Sukorov site.

47th International Film Festival in Berlin (1997): Special Award of the Ecumenical Jury
Award of the program Forum (Berlin)
Award of the International Confederation of Cinema Art
Prize of the Guild of Film Researchers and Critics of Russia (twice)
Awards of the program Young Cinema to the director of photography Alexei Fedorov and actor Alexei Ananishnov
Andrei Tarkovsky Award
Big Special Award Silver St. George for the Intention to Widen the Borders of Cinema Art
KODAK award for Best Debut to the director of photography Alexei Fedorov (twice)
Bronze Horseman Award of LENFILM studio (1998):
Best Directing
Best Photography – A.Fedorov
Best Design – V.Zelinskaya
Best Sound Design – V.Persov

I cannot help but to comment that for me it’s hard to understand why Sokurov changed his style when doing the second movie of the trilogy, Father and Son. The later movie is very good, but Mother and Son is breathlessly awesome.

The film is 70 minutes long and I’m glad it was short as it generated in me so many intense feelings and emotions that I could hardly endure what it was happening to me. But then, this film absolutely is a MUST BE SEEN cinematic experience that no serious cinema lover can miss.


I just decided to include some screens that I found from this awsome masterpiece so you can get an idea of what you'll be able to see.

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