Oriental Elegy | Movie Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Oriental Elegy


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Oriental Elegy

An astonishingly beautiful and hypnotic 1996 video by Alexander Sokurov, most of it in black and white, but with brief patches in color and sepia. Basically it's a 45-minute mood piece with a disembodied narrator who moves through a village on a remote Japanese island that's wreathed in mist; the music consists of Tchaikovsky, Mahler, Wagner, and traditional Russian and Japanese music. At times the vague narrative suggests a gothic novel, though the ending recalls one of the final images in Tarkovsky's Solaris. One shot, of the mist rising over the village, is worthy of Murnau's Faust, and most of the rest resembles a series of fine engravings in constant, dreamlike flux. Facets Multimedia Center, 1517 W. Fullerton, Friday and Saturday, February 13 and 14, 7:00 and 9:00, and Sunday, February 15, 5:30 and 7:30, 773-281-4114. --Jonathan Rosenbaum

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