Thursday, 10 June 2010

'Blockade' Movie Wins Plaudits, Few Showings

Genre: Documentary
Released: 2009
COUNTRY: Russia
DURATION: 96 min.
COLOR: color
Director: Alexander Sokurov
Writers: Ales Adamovich, M., Daniel A. Granik

Alexander Sokurov’s latest film has people reading from a book, one after another for the whole 96 minutes.
“Reading Book of Blockade” has children, soldiers, artists and actors reading true stories about the horrors of the 900-day Siege of Leningrad during World War II.
The film uses stories from “Book of Blockade,” written in the 1960s by Daniil Granin and Ales Adamovich, where they wrote down the stories of the people who survived the siege.
“It was a life-long decision … to make this film. Every citizen of St. Petersburg has at least once read the book,” Sokurov said in a written statement. “I wanted to catch the momentary impression that these real stories of enormous sufferings, cold, famine and deaths produce on our contemporaries, those who live in a safe and comfortable world and, perhaps, have never read this book and do not have the slightest idea how cruel the world could be.”
When reading, each and every person must ask him or herself how to be strong to survive and not lose honor, Sokurov said.
“While filming the reading of the book, Sokurov asked us not to act but just read the text. The book itself is incredibly strong and touching, and reading it sends you through all the unique feelings that Leningrad residents felt,” said Sergei Barkovsky, one of the actors in the film. “The movie sounds like a perfectly directed orchestra with its distinctive tone. You can’t peel yourself away from this music.”
The film has been well received by critics.
“‘Reading Book of Blockade’ is, first of all, a movie about limits and ways to overcome them,” said Konstantin Shavlovsky, deputy editor of Seance magazine. “People reading the book are barred from viewers by a glass wall with water flowing down over it. The ‘crying’ glass is not only an image of a great tragedy, but also a means of dissolving borders, between the living and the dead, between cinema and literature, between the past and the present.”
The Moscow Times

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