9 August 2012 | SindreKaspersen
"Contemplative and elegiac piece of poetic cinema..."
Russian screenwriter and director Alexandr Sokurov's twenty-third documentary feature, a cinematographic narrative in five parts subtitled "From the commander's diary", was shot in the region of Murmansk in Northwest Russia in the White Sea and Barents Sea on a naval patrol ship, where the film crew lived with the seamen and participated in their daily routines. It was written as a poem, the plot and characters are creations of the author's imagination, by Alexandr Sokurov and is a Russian production, originally made as a mini-series for Russian television, which was distributed by Ideale Audience International and produced by producer and director of Nadezhda Studio Svetlana Voloshina.
Finely and acutely directed by Russian filmmaker Alexandr Sokurov, this quietly paced, literary and existentialistic soul-search which is narrated mostly from naval officer Sergei Bakai's point of view, draws an intimate and empathic portrayal of a group of young seamen's camaraderie and experiences on a battleship and a captain's introspective thoughts concerning his history in the Russian military, duties as the ship commander and his relationship with his conscripted sailors during a cold winter in the northernmost part of the world ocean. While notable for it's lingering cinematography by cinematographer Alexey Fedorov, use of sound, use of music and use of colors which emphasizes it's poignant atmosphere, this internal journey towards a naval base in Kuvshinka, in the Murmansk Region where young men are faced with and affected by pivotal decisions, monotony and absence of freedom and a captain by his memories, loneliness and dreams, draws a profoundly humane examination of the human condition and about coming to terms with one's destiny. An at times humorous, contemplative and elegiac piece of poetic cinema which is driven by it's distinct voice-over narration.