The Lonely Voice of Man (aka The Lonely Human Voice). 1978–87. USSR. Directed by Aleksandr Sokurov. With Tatyana Goryacheva, Vladimir Degtyarev. 35mm. In Russian; English subtitles. 87 min.
In the 1920s, in the wake of the Russian Civil War, a young couple find themselves in a ruinous, joyless landscape. The dawn of a new society brings little hope and joy as their hearts are forever scarred by the trauma of yesteryear. Washed out, monotone, contemplative imagery poetically conjures an eternal sadness. Aleksandr Sokurov’s graduation project at the All-Union State Institute of Cinematography (VGIK), the film was immediately banned, and wasn’t released until nine years later. Regardless, Andrey Tarkovsky was so impressed by this work that he compared the young filmmaker to great masters such as Robert Bresson and Kenji Mizoguchi. Sokurov would later accomplish a formidable oeuvre with films including Mother and Sun (1997) and Russian Ark (2002).