Otets i syn | Отец и сын | Father and Son
DIRECTOR: Aleksandr Sokurov | WRITER: Sergei Potepalov | CAST: Andrei Shchetinin, Aleksei Neymyshev, Aleksandr Razbash | Russia
I remember when Aleksandr Sokurov made such a big deal out of the critical reception his Father and Son received in the West. How dare sex-crazed Western Europeans and Americans detect homoeroticism in his oh-so-Russian study of the love between a father and son and question him about it! Now that I’ve seen the movie I wonder if Sokurov wasn’t pulling everyone’s leg because long stretches of it resemble nothing so much as soft core homoerotic porn: a Bruce Weber-esque mood piece, say, of a hunky teenager and his slightly older hunky friend who like to strip to the waist and wrestle with each other with perfect lighting. But no, this is apparently a typical Russian father and his typical Russian son. Father and Son stand close together, shirtless, looking into each other’s eyes, as one slowly traces the other’s brow with his fingertips. Or they kick a soccer ball across the picturesque rooftops of their picturesque apartment building in an unnamed but picturesque town overlooking an unnamed and picturesque sea. The father is also accustomed to comforting his son’s night terrors by slipping into his bed, nude, and carressing his body while murmuring sweet, comforting words into his ear. There’s a threadbare plot having to do with the son’s half-hearted attempts to separate himself from his widowed father and the father’s inability to let go. Who cares? The movie is beautifully shot with a golden, soft edged glow and interesting optical distortions. A point for the look of the movie and a point for the beefcake.