Film Comment - 07/01/1997
"...Impressionist images of rural beauty....The film is a searing work of art about a great ace of love..."
Box Office - 03/01/1998
"...Exceptional....Sokurov's direction gives the film a unique power as well as a remarkable look....The emotional close-ups are particularly compelling..."
Los Angeles Times - 02/28/1998
"...Magisterial and poetic....[A] beautiful and serene film....A powerful piece of work..."
Uncut - 09/01/2007 3 stars out of 5 -- "[T]his is an impressionistic tour de force of landscape cinema."
Sight and Sound - 10/01/2007
"Audiences prepared to accept its portrayal of love and bereavement will be moved..."
The world's most renowned filmmakers are often referred to as being able to use the movie screen as a painter does a canvas. These terms would certainly apply to Aleksandr Sokurov's film, which uses a combination of mirrors, glass, and special lenses to create a genuine visual feast rarely achieved in cinema. Set in a stone cottage in the uninhabited countryside, a mother and her son recall times past as the woman attempts to hide the fact that she's dying. Neverthless, she is well aware that the boy will soon be left alone in this isolated land. This heartbreaking tale of a mother's last days is filled with somber emotional moments that are perfectly matched with the delicate images created by one of world cinema's strongest voices.