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FATHER AND SON aka OTETS I SYN
USA: Wellspring Media
UK: Artificial Eye
Cast: Andrey Schetinin, Aleksey Neymyshev, Alexander Razbash, Fedor Lavrov, Marina Zasukhina
Director: Alexander Sokurov
Countries: Russia / France / Germany
Language: Russian (English subtitles)
USA: 97 mins
UK: 84 mins
UK Certificate: PG contains mild violence
USA Release Date: 18 June 2004 (Limited Release)
UK Release Date: 17 September 2004 (Limited Release - Edinburgh)
UK Release Date: 20 August 2004 (Limited Release - London)
One year after the visual spectacle of RUSSIAN ARK, the film 'in one single breath', Alexander Sokurov paints us a new picture in FATHER AND SON. The film won the FIPRESCI Prize at 2003 Cannes Film Festival. It was conceived before RUSSIAN ARK, and is part of a trilogy of which MOTHER AND SON (1996) was the first part. Again, FATHER AND SON is devoted to an intense filial relationship.
The film opens with the intertwined bodies of two handsome young men, dissolving into each other to the point of being indistinguishable. These are the bodies of a father and a son. The son has had a nightmare and the father tries to comfort him. They have lived together for years, after the death of the mother, on a rooftop apartment where they have created their own private world, full of memories and daily rituals.
Following in his father's footsteps, Alexei attends military school. He likes sports, tends to be irresponsible and has problems with his girlfriend. She is jealous of Alexei's close relationship with his father. Alexei's father knows he should maybe accept a better job in another city, maybe search for a new wife. But who will ease the pain of Alexei's nightmares? It is world in which "the father who loves crucifies and the son loves to be crucified".
"The son's features constantly remind the father of his wife. He doesn't separate his son from his still persisting love: this is his unity with his beloved woman. The father cannot imagine his life without his son. The son loves his father devotedly and deeply, a filial feeling intensified by an instinctive moral responsibility that is being tested by life. Their love is almost of mythological virtue and scale. It cannot happen in real life. It's the incarnation of a fairy-tale" - Alexander Sokurov.
Partly shot in St. Petersburg and Lisbon, Sokurov's direction relies on the energy from the beauty of the bodies, the locations and the light to absorb and refract this extreme relationship.
Alexander Sokurov has dedicated his life to his own personal search for a cinematographic language to communicate the fundamentals of human experience. He has made over 30 features, documentaries and shorts to date.