Combustible Celluloid
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With: Aleksei Ananishnov, Gudrun Geyer
Written by: Yuri Arabov
Directed by: Alexander Sokurov
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Language: Russian with English subtitles
Running Time: 73
Date: 02/20/1997

Mother and Son (1997)

4 Stars (out of 4)

Human Nurture

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

From 1997 comes Alexander Sokurov's Mother and Son, which barely received a theatrical release here. (Sokurov fared much better in 2002 with his art house hit Russian Ark.)

Mother and Son depicts one day in the life of a grown son (Aleksei Ananishnov) and his elderly, ailing mother (Gudrun Geyer). They have murmured conversations, look at photos and go for long walks. The son must gently -- ever so gently -- lift his mother and carry her from place to place. Sometimes they'll sit on a bench, and she'll doze in his arms.

It's as tender and peaceful a final moment as anyone could ask for, as seen through Sokruov's gorgeous, misty cinematography that resembles oil paintings. The film only runs 72 minutes, so this slow pace should be tolerable to even the most impatient of viewers. And it's one of the greatest films I've ever seen.

DVD Details: Kino's new DVD is a budget job, with a written "introduction" by the director and a battered trailer.

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