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Elegy of the Land

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

ELEGY OF THE LAND contains two shorts by Alexander Sokurov about the significance of the land to Russia, where it has an almost spiritual meaning. Both films are embued with the director’s signature moody melancholy. "Maria," made in memory of Russian peasant Maria Semionovna Voinova, serves as not only a requiem for a hard-working woman but also for a way of life. Maria grew flax, and after her death, her secrets and methods of working in the fields were lost. "The Last Day of a Rainy Summer" was shot in 1978 on a Russian collective farm called a kolkhoze, which was responsible for supplying agricultural products for other parts of the country. "Last Day" captures the daily routines of this farming community, a lifestyle fading even as it was being chronicled.

Special Features

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Product Details

  • Directors: Alexander Sokurov
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Black & White, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: Russian
  • Subtitles: English, French, Italian, Spanish
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Facets
  • DVD Release Date: February 27, 2007
  • Run Time: 66 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000LPS38K
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,306 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Yoselovich Boris on July 12, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A fine addition to Sokurov's impressive output.A short early documentary mixed with the peculiar Sokurov art style about the life of a russian peasant woman in the kolhoz.The first part shot in color describes her happy days at work in the fields,in her family,on vacation.The second part shot in B&W 9 years after the first part tells the tragic end of Maria and gives to the movie an elegiac feel of happiness lost.It's a very moving comment on human condition.Recomended.
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This DVD is a must for Sokurov admirers (like myself). The first film, Last Day of a Rainy Summer, is OK. It reminds me of farming documentaries made during the New Deal in the 30's. It's not particularly interesting, as most of the participants sit around talking about corn (seriously). There are some lyrical shots of Russian country life, which are nice. The film is certainly watchable, but, honestly, Russians talking about corn and farming is not thrilling cinema. The film is also shot in a workmanlike style, nothing at all like Sokurov's later work. Overall, it's decent. It's only 20 minutes long, so it's not a chore.

But the 2nd film, Maria, is a masterpiece and one of Sokurov's greatest works. We learn about a peasant woman working on a farm. Some of the imagery in this film is astonshing lyrical, reminiscent of Sokurov's masterpiece Mother and Son. The opening farm scenes as well as the scenes at the end in the middle of a snowy Russian winter are gorgeous. After we see Maria working on the farm, all of a sudden, Sokurov jumps ahead in time nine years and we find out the sad fate of Maria. While this is a bit jarring at first, you quickly adjust and find yourself mesmerized by the poignancy of this woman's journey in life. It's really unexpected, and the film is a sorrowful, elegaic comment on, honestly, life itself. Maria is one of Sokurov's best works, and no serious fan of his work can miss it.
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