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6 Sep, 2007 15:22

Venice awards Russian filmmaker

Aleksandr Sokurov, one of Russia’s most distinguished filmmakers, has received the Robert Bresson Award at the Venice Film Festival. This prestigious prize is given to artists whose work promotes human culture and is characterised by spiritual search.

In recent years, Wim Wenders, Theo Angelopoulos, Krzysztof Zanussi and Giuseppe Tornatore have received the award. Named after renowned French filmmaker Robert Bresson, it was initiated by the Pontifical Council for Culture seven years ago to show the Vatican's support of outstanding film directors.

Author of “Mother and Son”, “Molokh”, “Russian Arch”, Sokurov’s art has always stood apart.  In Soviet times his films received negative feedback from the authorities, but nowadays they are screened at some of the most prestigious festivals around the world.

Aleksandr Sokurov’s films analyse eternal matters. Rich in atmosphere and music, they speak of life, death and power.

“What I'm interested in is how a person undergoes severe trials in life, overcomes difficulties, grief, death, that is important for me as a filmmaker and a citizen of my country,” Aleksandr says.

His latest feature ‘Aleksandra’ was in the official competition of the Cannes Film Festival. The film stars legendary Russian opera singer Galina Vishnevskaya. Set in Chechnya, it’s about people separated by war trying to resolve conflicts without guns and bullets.

“I always know where I'm standing. I'm always on the side of those who are trying to resolve any conflict peacefully,” Mr Sokurov stresses.

Critics say Sokurov represents a new wave of spiritual cinema. What's more important is that his films help nurture the spirit and enrich the soul.