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Alexandra (2009)

Galina Vishnevskaya , Alexander Sokurov  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Galina Vishnevskaya
  • Directors: Alexander Sokurov
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Color, Dolby, Letterboxed, NTSC, Surround Sound, Widescreen
  • Language: Russian
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Cinema Guild
  • DVD Release Date: April 28, 2009
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001UE49BQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #104,409 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Review

"One of the ten best films of the year... A film of startling originality and beauty... A beautiful, eerie work of art." --Manohla Dargis, THE NEW YORK TIMES

"Shockingly beautiful. The filmmaking is masterful." --J. Hoberman, THE VILLAGE VOICE

[Four Stars] "It is unlike any other war film, in any language. Extraordinary." --Michael Philips, CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Product Description

In a desolate, sun-scorched corner of the world, an elderly woman has come to see her beloved grandson, a young officer stationed at a remote military outpost. With the enemy just beyond the compound, she wanders the barracks, observing the routines of military life, before making a sudden trip into the outlying countryside. Featuring a mesmerizing performance by Russian opera legend Galina Vishnevskaya, Alexandra is a viscerally powerful new film from the great Alexander Sokurov.

Special Features:
- Press Conference with director Alexander Sokurov, actress Galina Vishnevskaya and composer/producer Andrei Sigle (60 minutes)
- Patience Labour (10 minutes), short film by Alexander Sokurov
- Theatrical Trailer
- Essay by film critic David Shengold


Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
(7)
4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A warmth gaze about the war! August 2, 2008
Format:DVD
Alexander Sokurov has demonstrated to have inherited the priceless coronet among the most genuine distinctive and fervent spiritual followers of Andrei Tarkovsky.

This sharp, reflexive and inventive metaphor deals with the visit that Aleksandra Nikolaevna makes to her grandson, one of the best officers of his unity. She travels there to live together with that masculine universe, in which there are no women, no comfort, no tenderness. The life is meaningless and everyone jealously hides it from the others. There is military proud, desire to be recognized in that well apart place, where neither of the members of that little village appreciate them. Maybe there's no energy or even time for the feelings, being the authority, discipline and obedience are only the elements which formally has to be kept in mind for the rest of the trop. Everyday, every hour, everything debates between life and death. However, she sparks a light of hope, humanity and transcendental signification for the human being, because before nothing it` s a community where there are persons.

A poignant film that care and beautifully undertakes its warmth poetry before our eyes from start to finish.

Don't miss this brilliant jewel of the cinema.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars peerless filmmaking December 26, 2009
Format:DVD
Sokurov's work is always worth watching (Elegy of the Land, Russian Ark, and Spiritual Voices spring joyfully to mind), but of them all surely Alexandra stands a perfect work of collaborative genius. The great attraction for me was getting the gifts of Galina Vishnevskaya in the role of a lifetime. Her own life has been profounder than an opera role; &she's an actor of pungent means by an instinctive, interior passion rarely enough found. Her acuteness makes the camera itself but a vessel in the end. Her performance reveals a character by a kind of ecstatic stasis, detailed with subtleties impossible to catalog, and likely unforgettable. She creates with myriad near-psychic details, gestures, glances, aided by a consummately naked script, &the culminating effect lodges in mind and heart with real anguish. There's little to add to Ted Byrd's review; comments richly insightful. This is filmmaking we don't get from Hollywood; art made from suffering is the difference that defines. A brilliant anti-war film, yes, and more - in work this truthful and beautiful, the war policies of American profiteers find a perfect antidote. It's a film experience to cherish, recommended with urgency.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
What an absolutely magnificent, overwhelming and ultimately satisfying film this is.

Sokurov stated he had never written his own screenplay before, but felt it his duty to write a film for Vishnevskaya, partly to honor her as a great actress, but also to hopefully expiate his sins as a young man who said nothing, did nothing while people like Vishnevskaya and Rostropovich openly decried the soviet regime and their belief in democracy and human freedom generally.

Few people make more beautiful looking films than Sokurov, and "Alexandra" is no exception, despite its location and subject matter. Shot in the barren wastelands of war ravaged Chechnyan border, Sokurov's ever changing palette moves from brilliantly captured colors (a tree's leaves rustling in the breeze against a dusty background) to dreamlike darkness, black and white and sepia tone - the visual equivalent of a symphony or sonata. I always forget how frustrated I become at the beginning of one of his films because his soundscapes always begin almost inaudibly, the ear straining to catch bits of dialogue that seem almost not there. It's an effect which ultimately works drawing the viewer into the world he's creating, not unlike one's initial inability to figure out what's going on when entering a party or event.

There is not much to the story: an old woman, going to visit her long absent grandson, Denis, an army captain, at his base camp on the Chechnyan border. After an arduous journey she arrives to the camp, a makeshift military tent village and settles in as images of her journey pass through her mind (this happens frequently throughout). She awakens to find Denis asleep and a truly touching reunion ensues, as he parades her through the camp watching the soldiers going about their mundane duties.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Little Slow But Well Worth the Time July 11, 2011
By Shivon
Format:DVD
Alexandra is about a grandmother visiting her grandson on base while in the middle of the Chechen occupation. The movie is pretty slow as there's absolutely no action in it, but I think that's the point. This movie to me is more about the emotional. The relationships between the soldiers and how they react to having a "motherly figure" around. The relationship between Alexandra and her grandson and even a little insight into her relationship with her late husband. Most especially I found the nature of the relationship between the Chechens and Alexandra to be the most potent. This movie perfectly shows the uneasiness of relations involving the younger generation versus the older people who lived during soviet times and simply think of each other as "comrades". This film may be slow but it's well worth the time spent watching it especially if you're interested in the Russian-Chechen conflict.
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