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Father and Son [Import]

Andrei Shchetinin , Aleksei Neymyshev , Aleksandr Sokurov    Unrated   DVD

Price: CDN$ 137.57
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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Once in a While a Great Master Appears: Aleksandr Sokurov March 6 2005
By Grady Harp - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Aleksandr Sokurov is as artist of the highest order. Not only does he understand his medium of film as his chosen avenue of creating art, he has the gifts of ingenuity, fresh creativity, and daring that make his works unique and stunning without any of the hoopla of 'experimental' filmmakers: Sokurov honors his humanity and celebrates the miracle of life with every stroke of his hand.

For those first introduced to Sokurov by viewing his extraordinary RUSSIAN ARK, a film of such importance historically as well as culturally and artistically that it stands alone: the conception and pre-camera preparation of covering 300 years of Russian history as played out in the Hermitage Museum buildings allowed this master to turn on the camera and record non-stop for the hour and a half of the complete story. The result is breathtakingly beautiful and enormously educational and enlightening - all that one can ask from a work of art.

In FATHER AND SON Sokurov has distilled all of his energy into a quiet, rhapsodic, sensually elegant examination of the relationship between a father and son. There is not much story: there is much being said. A father (the handsome and sensual Andrei Shchetinin) lives with his son Aleksei (Aleksei Nejmyshev - as handsome and virile and tender as Shchetinin) in a rooftop flat in St. Petersberg. The father has had a military career and the son is now at age 19 in military school studying medicine along with his training. The mother is dead and the father and son are closely bonded by her absence and by an amazing love for each other.

Aleksei has had a girlfriend (the incandescently beautiful Marina Zasukhina) but seeing that she is competing unsuccessfully for Aleksei's love for his father, she informs him she has found another love. Another young military student Sasha (Aleksandr Razbash) observes the strong bond between Aleksei and his father and being without a father, asks to move in their flat. Knowing that their time as unified family is limited by the way life passes, the two remain living alone.

Aleksei has dreams that approach nightmares but generally deal with separation anxiety. The father is always there to console Aleksei after his dreams and gently encourages him to pursue the life that will bring him happiness.

And that is really the bulk of the story, simple and short as it may sound. The brilliance of Sokurov's genius is in his means of telling this simple tale. He has elected to film using varying lenses and limiting his color spectrum to the sepia tones that resemble daguerreotypes come to life. His use of moments of Tchaikovsky melodies is sensitive and additive to the mood. His ability to linger over extended physical embraces between this father and son says more about love than any filmmaker before him. Part of the magic he creates is due to the physical beauty of the two actors embracing in the nude in the soft winter light of their rooftop flat. Some viewers have found this homoerotic and are concerned about that aspect of a father with son. A pity, that, being concerned about homoeroticism: the passion between father and son should be able to be viewed on every level for its richness, not for the fear of censorship.

FATHER AND SON is one of the most beautiful artworks on film I have ever viewed. I felt the same about RUSSIAN ARK. I eagerly await viewing his MOTHER AND SON and all the other works that hopefully will flow from Sokurov's gifted mind and talent. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, March 2005
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of Sokurov's most difficult but rewarding films... May 6 2006
By Grigory's Girl - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
The first time I saw this, I was expecting it to be just like Mother and Son. Quiet, long takes, not too many cuts, slow, etc., etc.. When I first saw this, I was perplexed. It has the most cuts I've ever seen in a Sokurov film, and it just seemed strange at the time. When it came out on DVD, I decided to see it again, and it's a great film. It's an entirely different film than Mother and Son, but it's still Sokurov. Many have claimed that there's a homoerotic tension between the father and the son, and Sokurov has dismissed this as the product of "sick European minds". He's right. The reason that people have interpreted this as such is because the father and the son don't look alike, they're only 20 years apart, the father looks young, and they're both in great shape. The opening scene is the father is having a bad dream, and the son awakens him. Then they embrace. The 2 men who play the father and son are in good shape, so I suppose that's why they thought it was homoerotic. It really is kind of silly. The film is the thing, here. It's about a widower father losing his son to adulthood and possible marriage, and being left on his own, which naturally saddens and scares him. The whole film resembles a dream more than anything, and its imagery is bathed in warm, yellowish hues reminding us of the sun. It's really a stunningly beautiful film, haunting and unforgettable.
29 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth The Patience Required to Watch Dec 30 2004
By G P Padillo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Sokurov's movies take some getting used to. This is so dissimilar from standard American moviemaking that to call both things "movies" is to compare fois gras to corn dogs - both are food . . . but, really . . .

Again, unlike most American cinema, Father and Son is haunted by some images of homoeroticism that Sokurov (initially at least) denied - but the moments, as beautiful and lyrical as they appear, may give one pause for concern - if not for the homoeroticism, then for the fact that this is father and son and the physicality (especially of the opening scene) at times borders on sexual. Repeated viewings however, will fix that for after a while it became evident to me that there was nothing unnatural about this relationship - and that most of us don't have that kind of physicality in our lives: most family pets receive more physical affection than actual family members.

Father and Son is a movie that will haunt long after its final frames and provoke thoughts about family and relationships as few films do.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly Beautiful Movie Sept. 27 2004
By MrBBaggins - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Once seen, I could not get this film out of my mind. So moving, I took a day off of work in order to see it again before its much-too-short run ended. A New York Times reviewer described it best: "[I]t has an intensity that surpasses understanding." The cinematography is gorgeous, the story is deeply moving, the characters are much more human than most Americans care to admit. Immediately shooting to the top of my list, I had to e-mail and thank Aleksandr Sokurov personally for his wonderful film... and happily received a reply. Watch it with an open mind.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For the film, 5 stars, hoping the DVD does it justice Sept. 14 2004
By Jeffery Frisone - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
I saw this film at the theater about a month ago and I am very happy to see it being released so soon, though I suspected as much since there were only about 10 people to see this film on its opening Saturday. This is a wonderful, beautiful film. It is highly stylized, even pretentious, but still wonderful. I have been following Sokurov for some time. I find his earliest films to be almost unbearable. Perhaps it was a need on his part to follow his mentor, Tarkovsky. Finally, with Mother and Son and Russian Ark he has developed a style of his own, much more willing to distort the film image than Tarkovsky was. His films are slow and meditative, like Tarkovsky or Bresson, without much speaking. I don't won't to talk of the plot of this film, esp as it has very little, much like Mother and Son. Instead, it is the visual experience that is remarkable, beautiful and the interesting way he has of showing the interiors of his characters' feelings without much use of words. Mother and Son was about loss and alienation, so is Father and Son, but because of different reasons. You have to see the films to find out. However, from what I know of Sukurov, loss and alienation seem to be his favorite themes, and the reasons I like him so much. I realize these films are not going to be to everyone's liking, perhaps esp Father and Son because of its extreme slow pace and sometimes pretentious confusing story line. The film has a very homoerotic feel, but one tempered by a growing distance between the father and his son. And like his previous films that I have seen, the ending leaves a strong impression. Sokurov has become a master at high impact finales. Overall, a great, thoughtful, unique film. Buy it or rent it and see why.

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