Russian filmmaker Alexander Sokurov is one of the most important and influential filmmakers of our time. He has been producing award-winning documentaries and feature films since 1978, and is probably best know for his feature films Russian Ark (2002), filmed in one, unedited take, and Faust (2011), for which he received the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.
Alexander Nikolayevich Sokurov was born in Podorvikha near Baikal Lake in Sibeira in 1951. After finishing school he studied history at Gorky University (now Nizhny Novgorod) while working at the local tv station. At 19, he had already started producing tv shows and documentaries, and from 1975 he enrolled at Moscow’s film school VGIK, where he received the Einstein Scholarship. This is where he met Andrei Tarkovsky, who would later become a good friend.
Never the teacher’s favorite, in 1979 Sokurov was forced to leave the school because his graduation film, The Lonely Voice of Man, was condemned as anti-Soviet and formalistic. He was able to prevent the film from being destroyed, however, and after several unofficial screenings, his career as a director was established. This didn’t prevent the Soviet government to ban every film Sokurov made up until the mid-1980s.
Tarkovsky was one of the first to recognize Sokurov’s talent, and saw that he had a bright career ahead if he found his path and stayed true in his work, and he recommended Sokurov for a position at Lenfilm, the Soviet Union’s second biggest film studio.
Early in his career, Sokurov produced several documentaries, including The Dialogues with Solzhenitsyn and The St. Petersburg Diary: Kosintsev’s Flat, a rapport on Grigori Kozintsev’s flat in St. Petersburg. In 1987, his film Mournful Unconcern got nominated for The Golden Bear at the 37th Berlin International Film Festival.
With the fall of the Soviet Union looming, his films could now be screened internationally, and The Bronze Leopard for The Lonely Voice of a Man at the Locarno Film Festival in 1987, would be the first of many international awards ho was honored with.
In 1995 he was included in the European Film Academy’s list over the world’s 100 best directors.
Apart from his most famous films, Russian Ark and tetralogy Moloch, Taurus, The Sun and Faust, he has made several documentaries for the screen and television, and this year his film about the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg will be shown at the Venice Biennale.
Recently he founded Bereg, a film studio for non commercial feature and documentary films, without any government or private funding.
We also wish to thank Bereg for making this presentation possible.
1987 Mournful Unconcern
1987 The Lonely Voice of Man
1988 Days of Eclipse
1989 Sonata for Hitler
1990 The Second Circle
1992 The Stone
1994 Whispering Pages
1997 Mother and Son
2002 Russian Ark
2003 Father and Son
2005 The Sun
Christiane Büchner studied art and media in Berlin and Cologne. She works as a freelance writer and director. Co-founder of LaDOC film network. Lecturer at various higher-education institutions in Germany. Since 2001, she has been a member of the selection committee at the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen.