Alexandre SOKUROV
Александр СОКУРОВ
Alexandre SOKOUROV
USSR, 1980, 30mn 
Colour, fiction
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 The Degraded

 Le Dégradé

Directed by : Alexandre SOKUROV ( Александр СОКУРОВ)
Writing credits : Alexandre SOKUROV ( Александр СОКУРОВ)
Andrei_2 PETROV (Андрей_2 ПЕТРОВ)
Cinematography : Sergey YURIZDITSKY (Сергей ЮРИЗДИЦКИЙ)
Production design : Yuri KULIKOV (Юрий КУЛИКОВ)
Companies : Mosfilm, Lenfilm
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Plot synopsis
This was the young filmmaker's debut at the oldest Russian cinema studio Lenfilm. This short film was based on a short story by the modern Soviet writer Grigory Baklanov who, though, removed his name from the titles, stating that his “motivation for writing this short story had been totally different”. From Baklanov's prose the director borrowed only one theme which would always attract him subsequently — the theme of “transition period”, in this case, the transition from the helm of State to the prostration of submission. A traffic inspector was demoted to a taxi driver — that meant the authority was accidentally falling out of step. That was a first sign of the upcoming crash of the whole system. However, not even this theme itself was surprising in those old pre–Perestroika years, but the author's concentration on the inner world of a man for whom the lost of power seemed catastrophic injustice.
Sokurov shows with compassion what has been gained — the pain and the reflexion of an alive (as if just awaken) creature is revealed in a representative, however insignificant, of those authorities who ordered to annihilate Sokurov's first films, who banned them and created obstacles for the artist in his further activities. The young filmmaker manages to recoup himself by means of art: he places his “degraded” into a cinema auditorium where Sokurov's first, long–suffering, never existing for the authorities and yet, despite all the obstacles, rescued film — The Lonely Voice of Man — is shown.
The main role was performed by the non–professional actor Ilya Rivin, who subsequently played in three more films by Sokurov: Painful Indifference, Empire and Days of Eclipse.
Alexandra Tuchinskaya
English translation by Anna Shoulgat, © 2002.Coproduction : La Sept ARTE, Films du Bouloi, avec la participation de Starlight
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Our story is about a very strange and extraordinary man — a state employee — who started a new life after being demoted. On one side, there is a great deal of problems behind him…, on the other side, he gets the inner feeling of RENAISSANCE, however unrealized and obscure with regard of consequences it might be”.
Alexander Sokurov
(from his letter to the performer of the principal part I.Rivin)
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Selected in the following festivals or events :
- "Spirit of Fire" International Debut Film Festival, Khanty Mansiysk (Russia), 2008