SAVE AND PROTECT (1990)

  • Cinemuse 5 Ryneveld Street Stellenbosch, WC, 7600 South Africa

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DIRECTED BY ALEXANDER SOKUROV

Soviet Union | 1989 | English subtitles | 96 minutes | NA

Sokurov finds an existential plot in Flaubert's novel Madame Bovary and it becomes the basis of his film Save and Protect (this title is a phrase from an Orthodox Christian prayer). In Switzerland he meets the heroine of his plan Cecile Zervoudaki, the French woman with an extraordinary face and rare profession — an ethnolinguist. In the film Emma speaks French to all her Russian partners, being an alien here. She does not 'fit' in this life: houses are not higher than her waist, and in her bedroom the dark sky replaces the ceiling. Sokurov's metaphor is absolutely cinematographic and tragic. 

The word 'duty' has become the title of one of Sokurov's documentaries. All the characters have their duties to life. Emma has an erotic duty that transforms her into a vagrant devil. The soul returns to its home only when the body is buried. Therefore Sokurov presents the episode of the heroine's burial in three coffins as a grandiose multiplex panorama. In a sense, he pays last tribute to substance, restoring the trajectory and rhythm of the descent of the body for which the coffin is the last earthly home.