Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Taurus is the second in Sokurov's "Great Leaders" sequence - the first of which, Moloch, concerned Adolf Hitler. Under the spotlight this time are the last days of Alexander Lenin.

Lenin (Leonid Mozgovoi) is eking out his life in a countryside dacha, but finds himself impotent - unable to do anything about the fact that his once-devoted staff treat him as little more than a laughing stock. His wife's chief concern, meanwhile is to contain his rages and stop him making a fool of himself. He finds himself cut off from the land he once ruled, without a telephone, any incoming mail and subjected to occasional visits by doctors and heir-apparant Stalin, who, far from appearing larger than life, is portrayed gently by Sergei Razhuk as a man vacillating between feigned affection and total indifference.

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The film is heavily filtered, giving all the scenes a blue/green tinge, adding to the feel of decay created by Lenin's inability to conduct even the simplest of tasks. Sokurov's drama has a haunting quality and moments of poetry found in the simplest of shots. The story, however, is virtually non-existent, this being an invitation to the audience to see how the mighty have fallen and to wonder at the politics of power in 1920s Russia.

The performances are entertaining, but Taurus will leave those with no knowledge of the period a bit cold, although many of Sokurov's more lyrical moments endure on their own.

Reviewed on: 20 Aug 2001
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The last days of Lenin.

Director: Alexander Sokurov

Writer: Youri Arabov

Starring: Leonid Mozgovoi, Maria Kuznetsova, Sergei Razhuk, Natalia Nikulenko, Lev Yellseyev, Nikolai Ustinov

Year: 2001

Runtime: 94 minutes

Country: Russia


EIFF 2001

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