Jump to content

Francofonia


Brian D
 Share

Recommended Posts

Has anyone seen this?  I know Sokurov's Russian Ark was quite a film, and this is also a film that wanders the halls of a famous art museum.  For those who have seen this : How does it compare to that film in style, and how does it interact with it? 

For those familiar with Sokurov, what are the key films of his to see?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's quite different from Ark - much more ruminative and ornery, without the unifying sweep of the one-shot to tie everything together at the sensory level. Ark is a journey in every sense of the word, right up to its stunning decompression of Russian memory and literal reveal at the end; Francofonia is much more of a rambling essay drawing from a number of eras captured in the Louvre. Its treatment of the Louvre doesn't achieve the same integration of setting and subject(s) that Sokurov found in the Hermitage, but I quite liked it and found it located the necessary melancholy the subject demanded. I wouldn't know where it ranks in the Sokurov hierarchy, though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

I thought this was an extraordinary film.  I hope more people check it out as it becomes available on DVD/Blu-Ray.  The only other Sokurov I've seen so far was indeed Russian Ark, and Nathan Douglas is correct in the ways the two films differ.  Ark is no doubt the greater film--it is a high-wire act that is straining toward meaning and power throughout, and it can't help but impress with its scale and ambition.  Francofonia is, on the other hand, a wandering essay film that throws in some historical re-enactments for good measure.  But it's enormously clever and playful, with all sorts of ideas about how to film a museum and how to look at a flat painting with a movie camera in a new way.  He also fiddles with genuine historical footage, adding in new soundtracks and color tintings in fun ways, and foregrounding the parts that he's recreating by presenting it as a film strip running through a projector, complete with optical sound strip running on the edge of the frame. More than anything, the movie reminded me of Orson Welles's F for Fake--and as I regard that classic as an all-time favorite, that is a great compliment.

For those who know the Louvre well, perhaps little of the information Sokurov offers will be revelatory, but I felt that I learned a great deal.  It helps that I mostly agree with his thesis concerning culture and civilization and the importance of its preservation, especially in times when it is threatened destruction and barbarism from within and without.  Sokurov strikes me as something of a philosophical conservative; I suspect he would have a great deal of agreement with people like Jacques Barzun, Allan Bloom, or Mario Vargas Llosa.

Edited by StephenM
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...