Cleveland International Film Festival } March 22 – April 1, 2023 } Playhouse Square

MOTHER AND SON
(Mat' I Syn)

Year: 1997
Country: Germany/Russia
Run Time: 73 minutes

Like the late Andrei Tarkovsky, with whom he is often compared, Alexander Sokurov knows something about the cinema that usually escapes other filmmakers. He never forgets that motion pictures include pictures, not just motion, and the director arranges the narrative of MOTHER AND SON as an artfully compused, achingly love series of lingering shots that form a vignette of mythic proportions. In a verdant but apparently deserted countryside, under gathering storm clouds, an adoring adult son, apparently long absent, cares for his pale, fragile mother who may be dying, or who may simply have made up her mind to die after a lifetime of tragedy. Time period, settings and character names go unspecified, but there are fleeting allusions to a city park, a lover lost to time (the father?), a teaching career, persecution and exile. We feel we are watching the last act (or epilogue) of a mighty saga Tolstoy Dostoyevsky or some unknown chronicler of folklore may have written, reduced to its final two players, alone on an epic stage of windswept wheat fields and crumbling dachas. But though Sokurov has erased almost all the details, emotions of love, gentle reproach, grief and loss remain universal, wherever there are mothers . . . and sons. Simply the most beautifully photographed feature of the CIFF. (In Russian with English subtitles)

Screenplay
Yuri Arabov

Director
Alexander Sokurov

Producer
Thomas Kufus

Cinematography
Alexei Fyodorov

Editing
Leda Semyonova

Principal Cast
Alexei Ananishnov, Gudrun Geyer

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