Critic Consensus: At once ethereal and tangible, Aleksandr Sokurov's humane Chechen War drama features a spectacular turn by opera star Galina Vishnevskay.
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Critic Reviews for Alexandra
At least one critic has called this Sokurov's most political film, but on its deepest level it considers not a particular war but the complex feelings between mothers and the young men they send out into the world to kill or be killed.
It's also quietly challenging, in its own way, not least in its portrait of old age, its trials, new freedoms and the privilege of changing one's mind before it becomes too late.
The film is built on a massive incongruity: Watching this octogenarian drag her little bent-up wheeled luggage cart, amid rolling tanks and military transport trucks, you're looking at two eternal verities%u2014war, and civilians caught up in its wake%u20
The sepia tones and the claustrophobic camerawork are instantly recognizable as Sokurov's work, and so is the emphasis on family intimacy.
Audience Reviews for Alexandra
Sokurov was a genius in his pieces on the Hermitage and the Japanese emperor. Here he takes us on a slow journey to prove that the Russians shouldn't be in Grozny. For once the master storytelling seems unable to make the compelling case.
Manages to convey the reality of military existence without a single gun shot or single drop of blood: it shows the toll on the human spirit, the draining of life from young healthy bodies. Having had very similar military experiences myself, I found the portrayal of camp life to be eerily accurate, down to the most minute detail. It brought me back to a place I could not have explained to others: the dusty tent canvas, the heat, soldiers laying strewn in bunks, exhausted, drained, the discipline amidst seeming chaos, the cold metal armored vehicles, the cramped quarters, the apathy. Bravo.
I love this type of movies. On the surface they seem to be so simple. There is not much happening and the dialogues are scarce. But, below this surface of apparent simplicity, there is a really strong statement. The magic here is that the force of the message relies precisely in the things left unsaid. I love this film also because of its main character, because through her short journey to visit her grandson at the war camp, we get to infer so much about the struggles of all the sides involved in any war. The devastation, hopelessness, loneliness and silliness of every war is made explicit in this movie without any pretentious plot or pompous settings or crowded action.