Abstract

Alexander Sokurov’s latest film, Francofonia (2015), produced by the Louvre and filmed in France, takes up the issue of the Louvre in the middle of World War II and the Nazi occupation of Paris. This quasi-documentary, filmed along the lines of Sokurov’s signature documentary “elegies,” also encompasses the history of the Louvre up to the present day. Francofonia follows in the long line of Sokurov’s other films set in museums. Sokurov is an author who has worked more than any other filmmaker to translate paintings into a cinematic medium. While engaging with art history and great museums, however, Sokurov also gives a poignant interpretation of the violence of history that often surrounds great works of art. Thus the museum, in Sokurov’s cinematic interpretation, is both an archive of the most valuable products of civilization, as well as a material monument to the founding cultural and political violence that produced and surrounds it. The overt scrutiny and hypervigilance with which Sokurov films museums affects the very mode of his filming: his camera operates as if it were a museum itself, each film becoming an attempt to save civilization from its own ruination, and from its own blindness. Every frame in Sokurov’s films is thus a freeze-frame, born out of the paralyzing tension between external historical nihilism and the beauty of art.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6539
Print ISSN
0300-7162
Pages
pp. 6-21
Launched on MUSE
2016-05-06
Open Access
No
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