I was introduced to Aleksandr Sokurov by Mark Cousins’ documentary, The Story of Film: An Odyssey, which mentions Russian Ark, my first Sokurov film, and Mother and Son (which I need to see!).
The story slowly unfolds; why are we riding this train? Is she in danger? Information is scarce, but you are filled in as her journey slowly reaches it’s destination. Each scene is unmistakably shot by Aleksandr Sokurov, as you recognize the beauty and emotion – even from the inside of a tent.
Galina Vishnevskaya, who plays Alexandra, was a Russian soprano opera singer, and Mstislav Rostropovich’s wife. There was a press conference with Galina on the netflix dvd and Sokurov said he wrote the script with her in mind and if for some reason she couldn’t do it, he would not have made the film.
[spoiler] I did not realize this film is about the Second Chechen War. [/ spoiler]