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Mother & Son (1997)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Aleksei Ananishnov, Gudrun Geyer
  • Directors: Aleksandr Sokurov
  • Writers: Yuriy Arabov
  • Producers: Aleksandr Golutva, Katrin Schlösser, Martin Hagemann, Thomas Kufus
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Russian (Unknown)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Kino Video
  • DVD Release Date: April 18, 2006
  • Run Time: 73 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000EDWLYQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #349,418 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Mother & Son (1997)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Introduction by Alexandr Sokurov
  • Theatrical trailer

Editorial Reviews

A miracle of sound, light and characterization, Mother and Son achieves a pinnacle of film lyricism rarely, if ever, achieved before. Using stained glass, mirror effects and special lenses, director Aleksandr Sokurov (Russian Ark) and cameraman Aleksei Fyodorov have created "one of the most painterly features of all times" (Boston Phoenix). Both revolutionary in form and deeply reverent in theme, this intimate elegy is a truly unique film experience of universal relevance and hypnotic vision. Within a small cabin cloistered in a netherworld as idyllic as a dream, an ailing mother (Gudrun Geyer) and her grown son (Aleksei Ananishnov) play out a muted drama "so elemental, so primal and rudimentary, it's part of our genetic code" (Boston Herald). "I'm a head person, otherwise my heart would break," confesses the son as his mother's life ebbs away. But as the dutiful son comforts his dying mother in her final hours, and the shadow of mortality consumes her, heartbreak is inevitable. "Visuals that make Terrence Malick's Days of Heaven look like a home movie" (Time Out NY) herald both anguished solitude and the arbitrary grace of survival.

Customer Reviews

As they say, you'll like this if this is the sort of thing you like.
Rogers McAllister
This is the most accurate, impressionistic description of life in the Russian village and of a relationship between Mother and Son.
Alexander Kandaurov
This is a film for anyone who loves beautifully crafted and filmed works of art.
Michael Heumann

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Michael Heumann on September 29, 2001
Format: DVD
I loved this film, though I can understand some of the comments by people who found it to be slow. I don't really understand why anyone would say that the film has no plot or that it is boring. Sure, it seems like a simple plot--a mother dies and a son watches--but these things, mothers and sons and death, are not simple things. They are also not boring things. This is a film for anyone who loves beautifully crafted and filmed works of art.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Larry L. Looney on September 16, 2003
Format: DVD
Many films have come along in the history of cinema that have caused reviewers to compare the director's work to that of an artist working on canvas - but Alexander Sokurov's MOTHER AND SON comes closer than anything else I have ever seen to that comparison, barring those who have been blatant in their use of post-production trickery. One article I read about the film stated that Sokurov was pretty tight-lipped about how he achieved the stunning visual effects in this work - but when pressured, he revealed that NOTHING had been done in the post-production phase of the film, that all of the visuals were accomplished by simple - but painstaking - use of mirrors, panes of glass, special lenses, &c. The results are breathtaking. MOTHER AND SON is like nothing I have ever seen. The effects, rather than distract or detract from the impact of the film, underscore it perfectly - everything occurs as if in a dreamstate, leaving the viewer wondering not only about the 'reality' of the occurrences depicted onscreen, but about their place in time as well. The film is only 73 minutes long - do the events within take place more or less within that timeframe, or over a more extended one?
The portrayal of the soul-deep love between a son and his mother by the two actors is a moving one. We are left with more questions than answers about their personal situations, their lives apart or together, the locale in which they live - but we are left with no doubts at all about the devotion they feel for each other.
I watched this film once on my own, then again a few days later in the company of my best friend. She drew things from the film that I had missed, and offered some valuable insights.
Read more ›
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45 of 55 people found the following review helpful By gradnick on August 7, 2000
Format: DVD
I guess it's easy to tag films as masterpieces when one is enthusiastic about a particular film or the work of a favourite director, but few deserve the term more than this remarkable cinematic work of art. In a little over an hour, Sokurov manages to achieve a perfect balance between the aesthetic, the emotional, and the spiritual elements that inform this simple but extremely profound film.
The cinematic characteristics Sokurov employs are reminiscent of the work of Andrei Tarkovsky, but he uses them in a particularly economic and distilled form, free of the preachiness and (dare I say) pretension that occasionally colours the work of the late master. Despite these elements, one can not say that this is in any way an emulation of Tarkovsky, unlike Lopushansky's 'Letters from a Dead Man' (another fine film). This is most definitely the work of a film-maker fully aware of, and in command of his own artistic voice.
Where Tarkovsky was specifically Christian in terms of the metaphysical leanings of his films, Sokurov's film presents us with a kind of humanist mysticism, an elegiac hymn to human love, and to the natural rhythms of life and death. His film is a celebration of what it is to be human. All the conventional elements of cinema are pared right down. Dialogue is kept to an absolute minimum, but the soundtrack is essential to a full appreciation of the work - the wind, the sea, the "music" of the earth, provide a brilliant counterpoint and commentary to what is seen (and perceived). The look of the film is remarkable, inspired by the paintings of Caspar David Friedrich.
From beginning to end, Mother and Son feels like one long epiphany. This is contemplative, transcendental cinema at its best, and proof that cinema is far from dead. A true work of genius. Well I like it anyway....
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 18, 2001
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film utilizing only two actors in a limited setting of a small interior and the immediately surrounding natural rural environment is a cinematic masterpiece. Solukov stands next to Eisenstein, Pudovkin, Dreyer, Bergman in the depth of his insights, the beauty and power of his photography. Some viewers thought this film is too slow moving, it is not. There are spaces of silence, beautiful sacred silence which swallow the mind. The symbolism of the daily crucifixion of every mortal in the face of death is brought poignantly forth to stand before one as a witness of all that we are and all that we can possibly be. The tenderness of the son for his dying mother, the fear in him of losing her, of not being beside her in her last moment, his sad reassurances to her that he will not be lonely, and the direct communication between them is without parallel in cinema. There is nothing lugubrious, depressing, morbid in this film. This is a spiritual statement of great faith and great depth, the confrontation of death in life, of change, of generation following generation into birth thence into life thence into death. At one place the mother weakly asks if they can go for a walk together. At first the son balks and refuses saying: "It too cold for you to go outside. Are you not sick? Are you pretending to be sick?" There is a short pause, you can hear the breathing of the mother, then she says: "I am pretending. . . ". The son says almost with happiness (is it feigned or real?):"Then if you are pretending, we can go for a walk." She is unable to walk and during the entire film you only see her stand once, when he helps her lean against a birch tree to look downhill across the meadows and fields, the son carries her in his arms.Read more ›
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