The tribute, curated by Massimo Causo, retraces the most significant moments of the career of the director – winner of numerous Awards at international Festivals such as Berlin, Cannes,Locarno, Moscow, Toronto, Venice – offering a retrospective of some of his most representative films, made from the late’ 90s to the present day, including the whole tetralogy of power: Taurus, Moloch, The Sun and Faust (Golden Lion at Venice 68, in 2011).
The retrospective will also include the Italian première screening of A Russian Youth by Alexandr Zolotukhin, a former disciple of Sokurov, who is the creative producer of the film, screened at the Forum of the past edition of the Berlinale. For the occasion, Eduard Pichugin, General Director of Lenfilm Studio, will be in Lecce.
On 11th April, the European Film Festival will devote an entire day to Sokurov, with a Masterclass – moderated by Massimo Causo with Aliona Schumakova – that will take place in the morning at MUST, the Historical Museum of the City of Lecce.
On the evening of the same day, the filmmaker will be awarded the Golden Olive Tree for Career Achievement at the Multiplex Cinema Massimo, at the end of a meeting with the audience hosted by Marco Müller. This moment will be followed by the screening of Russian Ark, a film chosen by Sokurov himself and very important to him, which through a single amazing long take tells 300 years of Russian History crossing the halls of the Ermitage in San Pietroburgo.
The retrospective comprises the following films: Francofonia (France, Germany, the Netherlands,
2015); Faust (Russia, 2011); Alexandra (Russia, France, 2007); The Sun (Russia, Italy, Switzerland, France, 2005); Father and Son (Russia, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, 2003); Taurus (Russia, 2001); Moloch (Russia, Germany, Japan, Italy, France, 1999); Mother and Son (Russia, Germany, 1997); A Russian Youth by Alexandr Zolotukhin, with Alexandr Sokurov as creative producer (Germany, 2019).
The author of a cinema that combines a classic and profound sense of human spirituality with a worldview suspended between the concreteness of History and the motives of human beings, Aleksandr Sokurov has addressed the dialogue between the individual and their psychological twisting and existential and historical transience, adopting an eminently visual and sensuous approach. Crossing the cultural history of Russia from the final stage of the Soviet period until today, he has used the codes of both documentary and fiction cinema in a remarkably personal way to reflect on the relationship between Time and Man. Born in Podorvicha, a village of South-Eastern Siberia, on 14 June 1951, the son of a military officer, aveteran of the Second World War, he spent his formative years moving from one place to another with his parents. He soon developed a number of artistic interests (music, literature, visual arts, cinema), thus, after graduating in History from the Gorky University, in 1975 he entered VGIK, the prestigious Russian state film school in Moscow. He was granted the Eisenstein Scholarship, but his very personal views conflicted with the ideological precepts of the Soviet party, and consequently he was accused of formalism and anti-Soviet views. He graduated in 1979 among many difficulties: his film The Lonely Voice of Man (Odinokiy golos cheloveka), based on Platonov’s short stories, was not accepted by the administration of the school as an end of course project, so he graduated with the short film Maria (Mariya), which, however, was only released in 1988 under the title Peasant Elegy, the first in a long series of Elegies made over twenty years and devoted to a documentary and spiritual rereading of Russia’s history. It was right during the difficult period at VGIK that he was noticed by Andrej Tarkovskij, who encouraged him to move to Leningrad, where, with Tarkovskij’s recommendation letter, Sokurov was employed by the film studio Lenfilm and by Lendoc, a studio for documentary films, in 1980. These were years of intense work on a series of fiction feature films and documentaries, all systematically banned by censorship. His films could not be screened until 1987, when Elem Klimov, appointed secretary of a renewed Filmmakers Union in the Perestroika period, allowed him to become a member and formally freed his works from censorship. Painful Indifference (Skorbnoye beschuvstviye), filmed in 1983 and based on Heartbreak House by George Bernard Shaw, screened in 1987 at the Berlin Film Festival, while The Lonely Voice of Man won the Bronze Leopard at Locarno the same year and was released in theatres. In 1988 he filmed Days of Eclipse (Dni zatmeniya), in which the subjective dimension of a young doctor moving to a town in Central Asia is expressed through elaborate cinematography techniques. The following year, he drew inspiration from Flaubert’s Madame Bovary for Save and Protect (Spasi i sokhrani). In 1990 he inaugurated his trilogy of death with The Second Circle (Krug vtoroy, 1990), portraying a young man dealing with his father’s funeral, followed by the Chekhovian Stone (Kam en, 1992) and the Dostoevskijan Whispering Pages (Tikhiestranitsy, 1993). A reflection on the essence of time with in parentchild relationships is the central theme of Mother and Son (Mat i syn, 1996), in which the relation between an old woman and her young son is transfigured into an anamorphic view of their reality. Father and Son (Otets i syn, 2003), instead, explores the symbiotic relationship between a military officer and his only son, whereas in Alexandra (2007) an old grandmother visits her grandson among the dust of the Chechen battlefront. These themes intertwined with Sokurov’s trilogy of power, which portrays three dictators during the final moments of their rule: in Moloch (1999), the director follows Hitler’s private life, in Taurus (Telets, 2000) he focuses on the years of Lenin’s decline, and in The Sun (Solntse, 2004) he narrates the deposition of Hirohito. In the midst of a formal research that led him to dig deep into the expressive relationship between Cinema and Reality, in 2002 he took up the amazing challenge of Russian Ark (Russkiy kovcheg), in which, searching for a dialogu e between Art and History, he crossed the halls of the Ermitage Museum in St. Petersburg through a single unedited long take. He then ideally extended his analysis of power into a tetralogy, with his 2011 feature Faust , freely inspired by Goethe’s character but actually serving as a summation of the director’s reflection on cinema. Similarly, the following Francofonia (2015), filmed in the Louvre halls and set at the end of the Nazi occupation, defines once more the relationship between Art and History.