Facets Video Releases Alexander SokurovÂs War Documentaries
Two never-before released films by RussiaÂs most celebrated filmmaker, Alexander Sokurov (The Russian Ark, Mother and Son, Moloch), Spiritual Voices: From the Military Diaries and Confession: From the Commander's Diary will be released on DVD by Facets Video on March 29, 2005.
Chicago, IL (PRWEB) January 14, 2005
Two never-before released films by RussiaÂs most celebrated filmmaker, Alexander Sokurov (The Russian Ark, Mother and Son, Moloch), Spiritual Voices: From the Military Diaries and Confession: From the Commander's Diary will be released on DVD by Facets Video on March 29, 2005. The two films, each of them a separate 2-disc set, was produced for DVD by Ideale Audience, Paris. Retail price of each set is $39.95.
Spiritual Voices and Confession represent SokurovÂs daring approach to the documentary format. Using long takes, minimal dialogue, and painterly cinematography, he constructs two of the most striking nonfiction films in recent times. Susan Sontag called Sokurov Âperhaps the most ambitious and original serious filmmaker of his generation working anywhere in the world today.Â
Filmed over six months in 1995 along the Tadjik/Afghani border, Spiritual Voices tells the story of 11th border guard of the Moscow Army, virtually abandoned on the frontiers of the ruined Russian empire, left to face an omnipresent yet invisible enemy. Opening with SokurovÂs mediations on Mozart and Beethoven, the film illuminates the texture of the soldierÂs lives, following them as they maneuver tanks and lay mines, ending on New YearÂs Eve, the soldiers still waiting. ÂWe worked in the places where war is a daily routine, where the state of war is not a sudden attack, but normal life itself,Â Sokurov states in his television introduction to the film. Spiritual Voices was a critical sensation at the New York Film Festival and was awarded the special prize of SONY at the ÂFilmmakers of the PresentÂ showcase at the Locarno Film Festival in 1995. It traveled European art galleries and museums in an installation capacity and all five episodes were shown simultaneously on various screens. Its feature length is 327 minutes and it is covered in five episodes originally shown on television. Richard Williams of The Guardian calls Spiritual Voices Âa work of great originality and power, comparable only with similarly unclassifiable films such as Edgar ReitzÂs HeimatÂ and Krzystof KieslowskiÂs Decalouge.Â
Filmed and released in 1998, Confession chronicles the lives of a soul-searching captain and his young sailors as they sail the Arctic region in a Russian naval ship. A lyrical diary, Confession is narrated mainly by the captain, focusing on his frustrated efforts to Âbe patient,Â and the daily routine of the sailors. It is a study in human solitude and the effects of isolation. Fred Camper of the Chicago Reader says that in Confession Â[Sokurov] creates a tremendously moving portrait of despair and its causes through imagery thatÂs both sensuous and confined, giving his repetitions a strange beauty.Â Confession was originally shown on television as five episodes, and was edited as a theatrical version by Sokurov, pared down to 218 minutes.
Sokurov shot these films for and originally showed them on television. Yet these films exceed the television format, and are a step forward for the documentary as an expanding format. Often compared to Andrei Tarkovsky, his mentor and friend, Alexander Sokurov makes films with the deliberate contemplation of an artist who is sure of what he wants. CineasteÂs Krill Galetski states that ÂSokurov lives in a world far removed from commercial cinema as it is possible to get. Using modest means, he produces uncompromising works that address the most profound quandaries of human existence, giving form to spiritual concerns.Â
In 1979, Sokurov graduated from the Russian film school in Moscow (VGIK) and began making films during the 1980s after Andrei Tarkovsky recommended him for work in the Lenfilm Studio. But his work was not well received by the Soviet government because of its ambiguous nature. It was not until the late 1980s that Sokurov was visible to an international audience. His first film was A Lonely Human Voice (1978) and was followed by MariaÂs Lovers (1983) and Days of Eclipse (1989). Since the fall of the Soviet Union, SokurovÂs career, rich in literary adaptations, documentaries and film festival favorites has grown, making him one of the worldÂs most prolific directors, making over 35 films in the last 30 years.
Facets Multi-Media, Inc. licenses and distributes world and independent cinema on the facets Video DVD label and exclusively distributes DVD product for other DVD publishers including Cinemateca, Accent Cinema, Arte Video, Life Size Entertainment, Polart, Ron Knight Media, and OtherCinemaDVD. The over 400 works on the Facets Video label include Krzysztof KieslowskiÂs epic film The Decalogue, Lars von TrierÂs Medea, William KleinÂs Muhammad Ali the Greatest, and the upcoming DVD version of Peter BrookÂs Hamlet.
Facets Video is a pioneering distributor and licensor of independent, world, and classic cinema. The complete Facets Video Catalog is available online at www. facets. org or by calling 1-800-331-6197. The catalog includes more than 60,000 DVD and video titles from over 1,200 companies and distributors.
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