Aleksandr Sokurov - Video Film-maker Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

Aleksandr Sokurov - Video Film-maker

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Aleksandr Sokurov was born in 1951 in Irkutsk, Russia. The son of a professional soldier, he grew up in Poland and Turkmenistan. Whilst studying history at the Gorky University he worked as an assistant director at a local TV channel and learnt how to work with a video camera. He then studied direction at the film school in Moscow, VGIK.

His graduate film in 1978 was The Lonely Voice of Man. The Soviet authorities did not allow him to screen this, or any of his subsequent, films. He was more or less banned from working. Andrey Tarkovsky, who was in exile, created a fund which enabled Sokurov to continue working. Not until 1986 were his films permitted to be screened.

He has made almost thirty documentaries and nine features, for which he has received numerous awards at film festivals around the world. His latest film, Moloch, was screened in the competition at the Cannes Film Festival in 1999.

Video is far too important a medium to be left solely to amateurs. If we disregard difficult and incomprehensible art videos, video has in the past mostly been associated with home movies. Sokurov began working with video professionally whilst waiting for financing for his next feature and his own interest was awakened. He has succeeded in changing the way we see video and has given it his own cinematic characteristics. He creates films that you remember, for good or bad. His unique way of dealing with morality and alienation, drawing on inspiration from 19th century literature, music and art, leaves few unmoved.

His work includes:

  • 1975 Leto marii voynovoy [TV]
  • 1978 Odinokiy golos cheloveka (The Lonely Voice of Man)
  • 1978 Mariya/Krestyanskaya elegiya (Maria/Peasant Elegy)
  • 1979 Sonata dlya Gitlera (Sonata for Hitler)
  • 1980 Razzhalovannyi (The Degraded) [Short]
  • 1981 Altovaya sonata: Dmitrii Shostakovich (Sonata for Viola) [Doc/Co-director: Semyon Aranovitj]
  • 1982 I nichego bolshe (And Nothing More) [Doc]
  • 1983 Skorbnoye beschuvstviye (Sad Intensitivity/Mournful Insensibility)
  • 1984 Zhertva vechernyaya (Evening Sacrifice) [Short/Doc]
  • 1985 Terpenie trud (Patient Labour/Patience Hard Work) [Short/Doc]
  • 1986 Elegiya (Elegy) [Short/Doc]
  • 1986 Moskovskaya elegiya (Moscow Elegy) [Doc]
  • 1987 Ampir (Empire) [Short]
  • 1988 Dni zatmeniya (The Days of the Eclipse)
  • 1989 Petersburgskaya elegiya (Petersburg Elegy) [Short/Doc]
  • 1989 Spasi i sokhrani (Save and Protect)
  • 1989 Sovetskaya elegiya (Soviet Elegy) [Short/Doc]
  • 1990 Leningradskaya kinochronika No. 5 spetsvypoesk; 'K Sobytiyam v Zakavchaze' (Leningrad Film Chronicle No.5, Special Release [Short/Doc]
  • 1990 Prostaya elegiya (Simple Elegy) [Short/Doc]
  • 1990 Krug vtoroy (The Second Circle)
  • 1990 Leningradskaya retrospektiva (Leningrad Retrospective) [Doc]
  • 1991 Primer intonacci (An Example of Intonation) [Short/Doc]
  • 1992 Kamen (The Stone)
  • 1993 Elegiya iz Rossii (Russian Elegy/Sketches for Sleep) [Doc]
  • 1993 Tikhiye stranitsy (Whispering Pages)
  • 1995 Dukhovnyje golosa, 1-5 chastj (Spiritual Voices, Part 1-5) [Doc]
  • 1996 Vostochnaya elegiya (Oriental Elegy) [Short/Doc]
  • 1996 Rober. Schastlivaya zhizn (Robert. Fortunate Life) [Short/Doc]
  • 1997 Mat' i syn (Mother and Son)
  • 1997 Smirennaya zhizn (A Humble Life) [Doc]
  • 1998 Pavinnost' (Confession) [Doc]
  • 1999 Uzel (The Knot) [Doc/TV]
  • 1999 Moloch

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