Russia, 2000, 90 min
Section: East of the West
|Directed by:||Alexander Sokurov|
|Dir. of Photography:||Alexander Sokurov|
|Music:||Andrej Sigle - themes by Sergej Rachmaninov|
|Starring:||Leonid Mozgovoi, Maria Kuznecova, Sergej Ražuk|
About the film
In Moloch director Sokurov and screenwriter Arabov tried to create an intimate portrait of Hitler, and this time the duo have sought to express the existential angst of the Russian dictator Lenin. Without emphasising political events or the power context of his rule, they have selected the period during 1922 after his first stroke. With half his body paralysed but still not deprived of speech, Lenin is isolated at Gorky, Morozov’s expropriated estate. He is treated as an ordinary patient and as such bears his powerlessness bitterly. Aware of the irreparable damage to his intellect he contemplates suicide, but the Politburo must give its consent to such a measure. Medical procedures, indifferent personnel, and the care given by Krupská and nurse Marie all irritate him. Neither is he comforted by visitors, Stalin among them. The feeling that he is losing control over his own life is strengthened by the fact that he is forbidden any communication – newspapers, telephones – with the outside world. His gradual awareness that his life is losing meaning constitutes the true content of the film, and Sokurov, serving this time round also as cameraman, gave it an eloquent visual form.
About the director
Alexander Sokurov (b. 1951) studied history and then documentary filmmaking at Moscow’s Film School (VGIK). His rich filmography includes many documentary and feature films that have won awards at numerous festivals; the following is a selection: The Lonely Voices of Man (Odinoky golos chelovieka, 1979), Sad Insensitivity (Skorbnoye beschuvstviye, 1983-87), Days of the Eclipse (Dni zatmieniya, 1988), Save and Protect (Spasi i sokhrani, 1989), The Second Circle (Krug vtoroy, 1990), Stone (Kameń, 1992), Whispering Pages (Tikhiye stranitsy, 1993), Oriental Elegy (Vostochnaya eleghia, 1996), and Mother and Son (Mať i syn, 1997). Sokorov plans on adding a portrait of the Emperor Hirohito’s life to his other two political bios, Moloch (1999) and Taurus (Tielets, 2000).
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