A father and son share a close relationship that seems under threat as the son grows up and outside forces tug at both of them in different directions.
Recalling the intensity of Mother And Son, but bathed in a golden light that stands in marked contrast to the former's melancholic shadow, the second part of Aleksandr Sokurov's proposed 'family' trilogy again considers the prospect of parting from a parent but this time the focus is on the anxieties associated with independence.
Opening with a scene of intimate physicality, this study of widowed war veteran Andrei Shchetinin's relationship with trainee soldier son Aleksei Nejmyshev occasionally makes the viewer feel as much an intruder as those they encounter, including Nejmyshev's frustrated girlfriend. But Sokurov's use of space, religious symbolism and raw emotion compensate for any sense of exclusion.
Gorgeously shot and beautifully acted, this is a worthy addition to Sokurov's series.