March 27, 2014

Solzhenitsyn


I listen to audiobooks as much as I can while I paint. There are times to press the pause button and gather my thoughts about the work at hand, sintering a problem or a desire until it coalesces and there are times to divert my attention, sending the problem solving task to the background of my mind to let the solutions or inspirations arise buoyantly from the depths.

I tend to listen to epic books: William Manchester's The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Irving and Jean Stone's Der Theo... the list is too long to scribe here. I'll have to leave that for another blogpost.

I've just finished the Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago,. 75 hours and 35 minutes of betrayal, adamantine determination and unflinching testimony. I picked up the book years ago when I was in the Navy, but I couldn't penetrate it then, I didn't have the necessary mental preparation at the time. Now I'm girding my loins for The Red Wheel.

Today, my friend Andrew sent me an email:

by the way, have you seen any of aleksandr sokurov's films? he made the epic 'russian ark' (2002), which was all filmed in a single 90 min. steadycam shot, moving, via the pov of a dead guy, through the hermitage museum, which houses some of the world's greatest classical paintings. i recently saw two other of his films, both also set in the museum, using film to look at paintings. the scene in 'elegy of a voyage' that features bruegel's 'tower of babel' is pretty amazing - the way the camera approaches it in near darkness, then moves inside the painting's frame, where, because of the perceptually invisible camera-frame, the space becomes unbounded - you're inside the picture - then the camera - the pov - slips off the edge revealing the frame again and pulling back into darkness. think of watching someone's dream of wandering around and looking at paintings. sokurov.

And so I found Sokurov's Russian Ark on YouTube, the complete film apparently, so I immediately downloaded it in case it might not be available in the future.

Along the way, I found that Sukurov filmed a documentary on Solzhenitsyn. Kismet!



Posted by Dennis at March 27, 2014 7:53 AM

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