(Elegia Zhizni: Rostropovich. Vishnevskaya.) Russian czar of occlusion and blur Alexander Sokurov has an unlikely pair of pictures playing for a week each in Chicago; a portrait of a mother’s love in modern Russia, “Alexandra,” at Music Box, and this smaller documentary rumination at Siskel. In what may be his ninth movie with “Elegy” in the title, Sokurov interviews the musical duo of the late conductor-cellist Mstislav Rostropovich and his wife, the soprano Galina Vishnevskay on the occasion of their golden anniversary and keeps the more extravagant visual mannerisms at bay. Sokurov narrates and interviews on-camera, and the theme, suited to Sokurov’s work, suggests an elegiac awareness of the passing of an old world and the realities of a new one. The story of their extended exile after sheltering dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn is particularly bittersweet with the Nobel Prize-winning author’s death this week. Two parts; 101m total. DigiBeta video. (Ray Pride)
Review: Elegy of Life: Rostropovich. Vishnevskaya.