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« Tout ce qui bouge sur un écran est du cinéma. » (Jean Renoir)

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Aleksandr Sokurov, Élegie de la Traversée (Elegy of a Voyage), 2001

Elegy of a Voyage(Edit)

2001, 47 min, colour, BETACAM SP, Stereo
Idéale Audience (France), Studio Bereg, The Kasander Film Company (Holland)
scenario: A. Sokurov
camera: A. Degtyarev
sound: S. Moshkov
assistant film director: A. Jankowski
editor: A. Ivanov
The soundtrack comprises music by Glinka, Mahler, Slonimsky, Tchaikovsky, and Chopin, rendered electronically by Sergej Moshkov.


“People once lived here. I knew them. I believe I lived among them, too. When someone died, we wept. We were afraid that we were becoming fewer. Then we began to move our houses closer to the road. Everyone did so. We all wanted to live close together. No one wanted to live apart. But I can't recall whether it helped us.”

Alexander Sokurov (from the author's text to the film)

In this film, the artistic transformation of the objects of reality reaches the pinnacle of the author’s alteration of this reality. The author’s thoughts and words anticipate the appearance of visual images crystallised from flickering impressions of reality, composed in a manner that is eloquent yet austere, fantastic yet truthful.

In this voyage the names of people and places are alienated: this unfettered dream, a dream about the infinitude of space and time, needs no frontiers or passports.

Images of the native land: an altar in a church where a baby is being baptised, surrounded by sombre faces, the familiar landscapes of “abandoned homeland”, the frontier zone – are succeeded by other images: by the glittering lights of a western town at night, by the portrait of a young man, speaking a foreign language and retaining his smile even at a sad recollection.

Neither these landscapes nor these portraits convey distinctive marks of today's life, but rather the unchanging generic features of various sources of human existence. Only the director's will leads us to the point of convergence. When, following him through deserted rooms of a museum at night, in old 16th century Dutch paintings we discern and recognise the elusive warmth of life and our eternal yearning for a voyage – so that we may return – to one another. For art alone can give us the unique chance to take part in this cycle. (Alexandra Tuchinskaya)

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