Update: Read our review here.
It’s the dawn of the fall festival kick-off, which means a number of our favorite international directors are preparing for the world premiere of their latest films. Following up Faust, one of Russia’s preeminent working directors, Aleksandr Sokurov, will return with a new drama.
Francofonia, which will premiere shortly at Venice before stopping by Toronto, begins “as a portrait of Paris’ world-renowned Louvre Museum,” then “slowly expands into a monumental canvas upon which Sokurov traces France’s role as a dedicated supporter of the arts.” Clocking in at 87 minutes, it’s a bit shorter than his other work, but hopefully just as substantial, as we noted in our most-anticipated festival premieres.
The first impressive trailer has now arrived, along with a batch of stills and the international poster. Starring Louis-Do de Lencquesaing, Benjamin Utzerath, Vincent Nemeth, Johanna Korthals Altes, Jean-Claude Caër, and Andrey Chelpanov, check out everything below for the film arriving in France on November 11th and seeking U.S. distribution.
TIFF’s official description:
Master filmmaker Alexander Sokurov (Russian Ark) transforms a portrait of the world-renowned museum into a magisterial, centuries-spanning reflection on the relation between art, culture and power.
Russian master Alexander Sokurov (The Sun, Alexandra, Faust) has once again presented us with a beautiful and nourishing work of art, a docudrama that is nearly as sculptural as it is cinematic. Rendering the past as something profoundly alive and meaningful to the present, Francofonia is rewarding in ways that are difficult to put on paper.
Beginning as a portrait of Paris’ world-renowned Louvre Museum, the film slowly expands into a monumental canvas upon which Sokurov traces France’s role as a dedicated supporter of the arts. Sustained through the centuries, France’s reverance for culture has remained unequalled by any other European nation. With tremendous intelligence and a singular attention to form, Sokurov surpasses all previous attempts to craft a cohesive cinematic vision of a country’s art and history, charting France’s evolution from the Middle Ages onward as it rose through times of war and peace to its peak as the dominant cultural hub in the heart of Europe.
Having faithfully followed his work over the past twenty years, I consider Sokurov a sui generis filmmaker; indeed, he is a priceless presence in world cinema and a true virtuoso of this art.
Combining documentary elements with fiction, Francofonia — no less resplendent an exploration of hallowed cultural space than the director’s beloved Russian Ark — transcends the limitations of a plain description of historical events, attaining a level of audiovisual poetry that adds an almost magical aura to his chosen subject.
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