This DVD is a must for Sokurov admirers (like myself). The first film, Last Day of a Rainy Summer, is OK. It reminds me of farming documentaries made during the New Deal in the 30's. It's not particularly interesting, as most of the participants sit around talking about corn (seriously). There are some lyrical shots of Russian country life, which are nice. The film is certainly watchable, but, honestly, Russians talking about corn and farming is not thrilling cinema. The film is also shot in a workmanlike style, nothing at all like Sokurov's later work. Overall, it's decent. It's only 20 minutes long, so it's not a chore.
But the 2nd film, Maria, is a masterpiece and one of Sokurov's greatest works. We learn about a peasant woman working on a farm. Some of the imagery in this film is astonshing lyrical, reminiscent of Sokurov's masterpiece Mother and Son. The opening farm scenes as well as the scenes at the end in the middle of a snowy Russian winter are gorgeous. After we see Maria working on the farm, all of a sudden, Sokurov jumps ahead in time nine years and we find out the sad fate of Maria. While this is a bit jarring at first, you quickly adjust and find yourself mesmerized by the poignancy of this woman's journey in life. It's really unexpected, and the film is a sorrowful, elegaic comment on, honestly, life itself. Maria is one of Sokurov's best works, and no serious fan of his work can miss it.