ACMI Identifier
B1001202
Title
Spiritual voices from the diaries of war: a narration in five episodes
Alternative Title
Spiritual voices (From the war diaries: a narration in five parts.)
Creator & Role
Alexander Sokurov, creator
Alexander Sokurov, director
Eskomfilm, production company
Lenfilm, production company
V.V.S. Roskomkino, production company
Vladimir Fotijev, producer
Vladimir Fotijev, editor
Aleksandr Burov, photographer
Aleksandr Burov, director
Sergei Moshkov, sound
Vladimir Persov, studio manager
Studio Bereg, production company
Rhys Graham, research manager
Place of Production
Russia (Federation)
Creation Date
1995
Language
Russian
Other Languages and Types
English, Subtitle
Description
Born in 1951 in the Soviet Union, Sokurov has increasingly gained a reputation as the most important of contemporary Russian film artists. An heir to the transcendent cinema of Andrei Tarkovsky, Sokurov's body of work forms a rich examination of Russian history and culture, imbued with a spiritual and ethical commitment to the European humanist literary tradition.

'Spiritual Voices' was shot with video equipment over an 18-month period in which Sokurov accompanied a young army platoon during harsh and dangerous patrols along the battle lines of the USSR's war with Afghanistan. Absorbing the gestures and emotions of the homesick young soldiers, Sokurov developed a deep understanding of squadron life. Accordingly, 'Spiritual Voices' is free of the usual cinematic bombast concerning war: there is no tightly structured dramatic conflict between good and evil, no diverting spectacles, no individual heroism leading the viewer through a fable of personal and national triumph.

The five parts of 'Spiritual Voices' were originally intended to be shown as a serial spanning several sessions for television or cinema. But Sokurov has permitted ACMI to install the work with all five channels playing simultaneously. Viewed in this extraordinarily rich configuration, 'Spiritual Voices' vividly captures the mysteriously patterned, non-linear experience of war.

As viewers scan the five screens trying to take in all the information that is assailing them, they piece together an appropriately discontinuous impression of war. Even so, as they sit amidst the platoon's activities, gestures, and flickering glances, it is clarity rather than frustration or confusion that quickly arises. The work's complexity sustains and exalts, because the aesthetics of Sokurov's framing, sound design and editing all imbue the installation with an astounding cohesion. Even though the themes are futility, cruelty and incomprehension, the artwork itself is an inspiring insight into the mess that is war.
Form
Foreign language films
Subject Group
Armed Forces, Military, War & Weapons/War
Holdings
Digital Betacam [PAL]; Master
Digital Betacam [PAL]; Master
Digital Betacam [PAL]; Sub-master
DVD ROM; Copy
DVD ROM; Copy
DVD ROM; Copy
DVD ROM; Copy
DVD ROM; Copy
DVD ROM; Copy
DVD [PAL]; Copy
DVD [PAL]; Copy
DVD [PAL]; Copy
DVD [PAL]; Copy
VHS [PAL]; Copy
VHS [PAL]; Copy
VHS [PAL]; Copy
VHS [PAL]; Copy
Digital Betacam [PAL]; Master
Digital Betacam [PAL]; Sub-master
Digital Betacam [PAL]; Master
Digital Betacam [PAL]; Sub-master
Digital Betacam [PAL]; Sub-master
DVD [PAL]; Exhibition Copy
DVD [PAL]; Exhibition Copy
DVD [PAL]; Copy
DVD [PAL]; Exhibition Copy
DVD [PAL]; Copy
DVD [PAL]; Exhibition Copy
DVD [PAL]; Exhibition Copy
DVD [PAL]; Copy
DVD [PAL]; Exhibition Copy
DVD [PAL]; Copy
DVD [PAL]; Copy