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Whispering Pages1994

  • 3.9
The pages that whisper through this brooding, beautiful tone poem are from nineteenth-century Russian literature, primarily Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. An anonymous man wanders through decomposing, fog-enshrouded catacombs and encounters a series of “the degraded and the humiliated,” including a holy prostitute and a Kafkaesque bureaucrat. Shot partly in Sokurov’s dreamlike black and white with a dense sound track of eerie, echoing voices and bursts of mournful Mahler.

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2 members like this review

A dream with the pages of Crime and Punishment open on your lap: a surreal black and white vision of the dehumanizing poverty in ancien régime St. Petersburg. Survival breeds murder, suicide and brutality, and it corrupts all - even the angelic child prostitute Sonya. Whether Rodya is contemplating his guilt while shuffling along the sidewalk stream of vagabonds and brutes or is reflecting in his moldy crawlspace hovel, just within earshot is a constant drone of voices and classical music - the hum of the near faceless, milling abject humanity always just a few steps a way. Some tantalizingly abstract scenes required a second viewing and the following day to understand. A haunting, visceral interpretation of Dostoyevsky’s profound exploration of the darkness and complexity of the soul.

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top reviewer

Member Reviews (3)

20e2d34fa40e8f79b2cadb5e6bab5e0d?default=https%3a%2f%2fd3uc4wuqnt61m1.cloudfront.net%2fassets%2favatars%2fmale%2favatar m 0013
top reviewer

A dream with the pages of Crime and Punishment open on your lap: a surreal black and white vision of the dehumanizing poverty in ancien régime St. Petersburg. Survival breeds murder, suicide and brutality, and it corrupts all - even the angelic child prostitute Sonya. Whether Rodya is contemplating his guilt while shuffling along the sidewalk stream of vagabonds and brutes or is reflecting in his moldy crawlspace hovel, just within earshot is a constant drone of voices and classical music - the hum of the near faceless, milling abject humanity always just a few steps a way. Some tantalizingly abstract scenes required a second viewing and the following day to understand. A haunting, visceral interpretation of Dostoyevsky’s profound exploration of the darkness and complexity of the soul.

2 members like this review
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top reviewer

One of the most textural films I've ever seen. The surfaces breathe with a life of their own, as suggested by the puffs of fog or smoke that constantly drift through each space. When the"hero" of the film reaches up and strokes the giant feline structure he reclines in, he simply mimics what the camera has done to every surface and texture in the film. Changes in light and color are done not to reveal additional narrative information, but to further distinguish each plane and object in the frame.

117475.small
top reviewer

beautiful film_sort of dreamy & magic_love the almost color_the fog_the girl who is the holy prostitute i guess_the wondering & mystery