Mother And Son has been labelled a masterpiece by none other than Martin Scorsese. Lesser mortals, however (like your average cinemagoer), may have problems staying awake – despite its brief running time. Traditional notions of narrative are thrown out of the window: there’s a grand total of just two characters, a terminally ill old lady (Gudrun Geyer) and her devoted son (Alexei Ananishov), who lovingly tends his mum in a crumbling house in the middle of the Russian countryside. He reads out letters, fixes Mum’s food and carries her outside for ‘walks’, until she eventually passes away.
The dialogue is kept to a minimum, Sokurov (aided by special anamorphic lenses and an optical printer) instead presenting his audience with a series of distorted, painted images of the landscape, held for what feels like (and probably is) an eternity.