By Jeremi Szaniawski
One of the final representatives of a model of significant, high-art cinema, Alexander Sokurov has produced a big oeuvre exploring matters equivalent to heritage, energy, reminiscence, kinship, demise, the human soul, and the accountability of the artist. via contextualization and shut readings of every of his function fiction motion pictures (broaching a lot of his documentaries within the process), this quantity reveals a imaginative and prescient of Sokurov's motion pictures as both mournful and passionate, highbrow, and sensual, and in addition identifies in them a robust, if discursively repressed, queer sensitivity, along a development of tensions and paradoxes. This e-book therefore bargains new keys to appreciate the lasting and ever-renewed allure of the Russian director's Janus-like and unusually dynamic cinema -- a deeply unique and intricate physique of labor in discussion with the earlier, the current and the future.
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Extra resources for The Cinema of Alexander Sokurov: Figures of Paradox (Directors' Cuts)
And certainly, from a definite viewpoint, using the resource textual content appears virtually the correct pretext for Sokurov to demonstrate this despondent desertic panorama, packed with suicidal or aloof characters. past its just a little imprecise apocalyptic motif, basically few literal parts have been retained from the Strugatsky tale during this ‘adaptation’: the protagonist’s identify (Malyanov, performed by way of a non-professional actor, the athletic Alexey Ananishnov); the suggestion of warmth, albeit a dry, barren region warmth (the novella opens with an account of Leningrad doused in white warmth, on an atypically scorching and humid summer season day); and, most significantly, the feel of a few unusual strength, probably of extra-terrestrial foundation, exerting strain and ‘impinging on our monad’ (to use Jameson’s phrase), compelling the characters to take activities that frequently appear arbitrary. yet, Jameson asks, is that this strength impinging on people, a rational response at the a part of the super-force, or fairly a ‘spasmodic gesture of the gods’? Uncertainty reigns very best: novella and movie are fables approximately this epistemological riddle, ‘this final problem to cognitive mapping’ (1992: 88). This uncertainty is mirrored within the hybrid, liminal nature of the movie: blending documentary with fiction photos extra seamlessly than the former motion pictures, it really is tough to envision before everything even if Days of the Eclipse qualifies as a choral, polyphonic paintings, or even if it has as a substitute a unified voice hiding at the back of the ranking of characters crossing paths throughout the abnormal diegesis. finally, Fredric Jameson’s passionate endorsement of Days of the Eclipse, in his Geopolitical Aesthetic, is still the only so much eloquent piece written on Sokurov within the English language, viewing the strain felt by means of the scientists of the novella as relocating from a political body to an monetary one because it displays in this finish of an period. As such, the movie serves as an allegory of the passage of the Soviet Union right into a loose marketplace economic climate and the threats of overdue capitalism and postmodernism promised via the union’s imminent cave in. Jameson issues out that this allegorical measurement could were misplaced on so much audience, and probably at the filmmakers’ themselves, yet upon scrutiny, his interpretation holds its personal. One aspect serving Jameson’s argument is his wisdom of the Strugatsky physique of labor (1992: 107–9), during which the alien strength evolves from a colonial-style aggressor to an insidious, more and more ‘late capitalist’ strength that adopts new ruses and strategies of distraction to deflect and divert the eye of people from their quest for development. In different phrases, the weapon becomes champagne and caviar, or because the movie has it, lobster in aspic. past the Marxist interpretation, Jameson argues that what one, despite their allegiance, can keep from Days of the Eclipse is a profound experience of transition, which the movie superbly captures in all its trepidation, worry, anxiousness and supreme nostalgia: the shift from one historical second into one other, what has been misplaced and what may be won.