Alexander Sokurov might best be known for Russian Ark, his grand single-take jaw-dropper featuring over 2,000 actors. In a way, Mother and Son is the exact opposite, featuring only two, and instead of traversing hundreds of years of history, it wades through a singular moment in time. This intimate and hypnotic piece of slow cinema trails a son taking care of his dying mother out in the beautiful countryside.
Sokurov’s frames mirror impressionist paintings, while the mix of slow movement and sparse dialogue creates heartbreaking poetry. So many films casually employ death like a light-switch – on and off and out of mind. Sokurov instead confronts it as a corrosive force that bends time to its will and pulls both the dying and the grieving into its grasp.
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