Mother and Son (5 stars)

(U) 71min (Artificial Eye DVD retail)


Aleksandr Sokurov’s masterful meditation on death – not as a clinical medical demand but as an immediate, emotionally vivid experience – is one of the greatest of modern films. As we see the son (Aleksei Ananishnov) caring for his dying mother (Gudrun Geyer) in the Russian countryside, Sokurov portrays it with hushed yet amplified sound, and with subtly distorted images of the natural world that give it an expressionist look, yet without allowing it to topple off into a subjective vision.

Sokurov’s film is a meditation on how difficult it is to hold on to one’s dignity in the modern maze of hospitals, hospices and Medicare bills. This would make a great – though impossibly taxing – double bill with Cristi Puiu’s equally masterful The Death of Mr Lazarescu. Extras include the documentary film A Humble Life about Sokurov’s cinema.

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