Evening Sacrifice, 1987

Evening Sacrifice is tonally composed of two indelibly entrancing and hypnotically fluid images: a color sequence that captures the methodical precision of a military regiment deploying fireworks over the Neva River to the melancholic serenade of a nostalgic, old-fashioned ballad, that transitions to a sepia-toned footage of a crowd indiscriminately dispersing into the street amidst a frenetic assortment of effervescent pop tunes, most identifiably, The Beatles’ Can’t Buy Me Love. As the sound of canon fire dissipates in the cacophony of ambient street noise, the solemn oratorio of Boris Khristov’s haunting, full-bodied bass voice rises above the din. Juxtaposing the sound of a traditional, Russian Orthodox Byzantine chant to the image of a chaotic human spectacle, Aleksandr Sokurov creates an understatedly poignant and meditative filmic prayer for a disordered, aimless, and despiritualized modern world.

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