Alexandre SOKUROV
Александр СОКУРОВ
Alexandre SOKOUROV
Russia / Japan, 1997, 75mn 
Colour, documentary
A Humble Life
▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪

Смиренная жизнь


 Une vie humble

 Smirennaya zhizn

Directed by : Alexandre SOKUROV ( Александр СОКУРОВ)
Writing credits : Alexandre SOKUROV ( Александр СОКУРОВ)
Cinematography : Aleksey FEDOROV (Алексей ФЕДОРОВ)
Sound : Sergey MOSHKOV (Сергей МОШКОВ)
Editing : Leda SEMENOVA (Ледa СЕМЕНОВА)
Production : Fonds japonais, Severnyy Fond, Nadezhda, Pandora Co.
format : Video

Plot synopsis
A myth about lost harmony, which is always with us, though we often cannot feel it, is further developed in this film by Alexander Sokurov. The material used here is concrete and, at first sight, quite fit for TV. The whole work is unhurried and detailed report from an old solitary house, lost in the mountains, in the village of Aska, prefecture Nara, Japan, where an old woman, whose name is Umeno Matshueshi, lives alone. But filmmaker's creative task is quite opposed to the TV information stream. It is not only because this subject, this person couldn't be of any interest for any TV crew in any country (and least of all, perhaps, in modern Japan).
Sokurov's camera doesn't watch this character, doesn’t ask any questions, doesn’t surprise her, but extracts uninterrupted poetical image out of the trivial details of this physical reality, out of this extinct life and daily routine. The image is epic and lyrical at the same time. Refined simplicity of Japanese landscape, interior, a series of portraits are not a representation of “couleur local,” but only the sign of ideal technique of the ideal description, allowing to enter this life. The woman, who remains silent throughout the whole film, cooking and eating, kindling the fire and sewing, giving alms and combing her hair before us, recites in the final poem as a prayer: artless and sorrowful tanku about loneliness, about the constancy of losses and gainings. Sokurov shoots this unexpected stroke in his personage's portrait as a lyrical coda of his work.
Alexandra Tuchinskaya,

Selected in the following festivals or events :
- Rétrospective Alexandre Sokourov Aix en Provence / Marseille, Aix en Provence (France), 2015
- Russian documentaries - musée du quai Branly (Paris), Paris (France), 2008
- Fall Festival 1998, Paris (France), 1998