Russia, Germany

Synopsis

An ominous fortress perched high above the clouds... A woman alone prances in the nude an its majestic terraces. She knows she is under surveillance, and waves randomly to spying telescopic eyes... Still restless, she passes time in the Führer's study. She fondles his belongings and tries to amuse herself to his preferred music.

When her beloved "Adi" finally arrives, there is no romantic scene of tender embraces. Eva is greeted as a mere member of his summer household staff. At least the isolated retreat's monotonous calm, which Eva must endure day after day, is broken by the Führer and his entourage - right-hand man Martin Bormann and propaganda specialist Joseph Goebbels with doting wife Magda at his side.

Everything seems in order for a reposing 24 hours of table talk and strolls amidst the dramatic views of the Bavarian Alps. Bormann has made lt clear that there should be no talk of war. Even if it is the spring of 1942.

Tension has its way of overpowering feigned efforts at drawing room comedy. As the hostess's impatience rises, the Führer must face more than just the trite power play of table seating and the artful dodging of the petty rivalry between Bormann and Goebbels.

The confusions of a woman caught up in the complexities of a man incapable of human intimacy have made Eva as volcanic as her desired. Her longing cannot compete with his responsibility to the Reich. Her loyalty can no longer tolerate his absurd ranting nor his hypochondriac complaints. She alone can scrutinize the monster now feared by all. For hers is the only voice that dares contradict the Führer...

Director's Biography

BlOGRAPHY

With an assorted 30 features, documentaries and shorts to his name, Aleksandr Sokurov has made testament of his search for a cinematic language to communicate the fundamentals of human experience.

The volume of the Russian filmmaker's work has been hailed as "pure, uncompromised cinema" by critics worldwide. His unique vision and style have been credited to the visual splendor, hermetic intensity and sense of suspended time found within his films.

The universality of bis films was proven by the distribution of 1997's MOTH ER AND SON in some 25 countries. The moving story of a dying woman's last day under the care of her son won kudos as "a rare cinema experience, simultaneously tranquil and intriguing." Equally heralded were the film's hallucinatory visuals of the countryside, inspired by the tradition of 19th century German Romantic landscape painting — all accomplished without post-production enhancing.

In similar emotional fashion, Sokurov's 1990 feature THE SECOND CIRCLE was critically-acclaimed for its treatment of a man coming to terms with hls father's death as he prepares the body for burial. In other fiction features, Sokurov has explored the adaptation of literary works by Shaw (1983's PAINFUL INDIFFERENCE), Flaubert (1989's SAVE AND PROTECT) and Dostoyevsky (1993's WHISPERI NG PAGES).

Sokurov connaisseurs have long appreclated bis series of "elegies." Ranging in duration from 20 to 90 minutes, his elegies are perhaps best described as poetic and visual essays. 1996's ORIENTAL ELEGY won the Best Short Film prize at Oberhausen (Germany).

Sokurov is also an acclaimed documentary filmmaker, the most recent being 1998's CONFESSION, a 260-minute portralt of young Russian sailors, and 1998's THE KNOT an Nobel Prize-winner Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Also notable is the 1996 six-hour SPIRITUAL VOICES, an epic study of Russian border guards.

For nearly 10 years, Sokurov's films were banned in the former Soviet Union. With support from the late (and then-exiled) cinema master Andrei Tarkovski, Sokurov's films were eventually granted screening permission in 1986.
Sokurov made his first feature film, THE LONELY VOICE OF MAN, in 1978 as his graduation project from the Moscow Film School (VGIK). The film was rejected by the school, as well as the Soviet government. This was also the case for all the numerous films he made at the Leningrad Documentary Film Studios.

Sokurov was born in Siberia in 1951. Because of his military father, he spent mach of his childhood in Poland and Turkistan. He studied history at the University of Gorky before attending film school. Since 1982 Sokurov has lived in St. Petersburg.


FILMOGRAPHY

FICTION FEATURES
1999 MOLOCh Molokh 103 nein,
1997 MOTHER AND SON Mar i Syn r3 min.
1993 WHISPERING PAG E Tikhie Stranitsy 77 min.
1992 STONE Kamen" 88 mip.
1990 THE SECOND CIRCLF. Krug Vtoroi 32 fixin
1989 SAVE AND PROTECT Spasi I Sokhrani 187 min.
1988 DAYS OF ECLIPSE Dni Zatmeniya 133 19110.
1983 PAINFUL INDIFFERENCL Skorbnoe Beschuvstvie 110 min.
1978 THE LONELY VOICE OF MAX Odinokii Golos Cheloveka 90 min.

THE ELEGIES
1996 ÜRIEN TAL ELEGY Vostochnaya Elegiya A-Z, min
1993 ELEGY FROM RUSSI Elegiya iz Rossii 88
1990 SIMPLE ELEGV Prostaya Elegiya 20 roir.
1989 SOVIET ELEGY Sovetskaya Elegiya 40 min.
1989 PETERSBURG ELEGY Peterburgskaya Elegiya 40 min.
1988 MOSCOW F EGY Moskovskaya Elegiya 88 min.
7985 F F.0 Elegiya 70 min.

DOCUMENTARIES
1933 THE XNUI Uzel Je 0-dp.
1998 CONFESSION Povinnost"
1997 HUMBLE LIFE Smirennaya Zhisn 12 min.
1996 HUBERT ROBERT: A FORTUNATF Ur: Robert: Schastlivaya Zhizn" 26 min.
1995 SPIRITUAL VOICES Dukhovnye Golosa 32? rfe
1991 AN EXAMPLE OF INTONATION Primer Intonatsii C,'‘
1990 TO THE EVENTS IN THANSCAUCASIP K Sobytiyam v Zakavkaz-e 10 min.
1985 PATIENCE LABOUR Terpenie Trud 10 min.
1984 EVENING SACRIFICt Zhertva Vechernyaya 20 ernin‘
1982 AND NOTHING MORS 1 Nichego Bolshe •rt2•'!
1281 SONATA FOR VIOLA Artovaya Sonata: Dmitrii Shostakovich 90 min.
1979 SONATA FOR HITLER Sonata Dlya Gitlera 10 min.
1978 MARIA Mariya 40 min.
SHORT FICTION
1987 THE EMPIRE STY Ampir 40 min.
1980 THE DEGRADED Razzhalovannyi 3& min.
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Cast & Crew

Directed by: Alexandr Sokurov

Written by: Yuri Arabov

Produced by: Thomas Kufus, Victor Sergeev

Cinematography: Alexei Fyodorov, Anatoli Rodinov

Production Design: Sergei Kokovkin

Costume Design: Lidiya Kryukova

Hair & Make-up: Lyudmila Kosinets, Zhanna Rodionova, Ekaterina Beschastnaya

Sound: Vladimir Persov

Main Cast: Elena Rufanova, Leonid Mosgovoi

Nominations and Awards

  • European Cinematographer – Prix Carlo Di Palma 1999
  • European Film 1999
  • EFA Feature Film Selection 1999