Film Info: Vater und Sohn

Father and Son (Vater und Sohn)

Father and Son
Andrey Shchetinin, Aleksey Neymyshev (photo © Evgeny Taran)

A father and his son have lived together for years in an old apartment in the center of St. Petersburg. The mother has been dead a long time; nothing evokes her memory. The apartment is decorated in a Spartan fashion. A set of weights and a soccer ball are the only luxuries lying around.

The father is around 45 years old. His son is in his 20s. After all these years, they have built their own private world around them, full of memories, rituals and co-dependency. But their paths are slowly separating because both men hold on to a secret.

The father hides the story of a friend who disappeared in vengeance against an absurd war. The son is afraid to come to terms emotionally with his girlfriend. Each man wants to help the other, but they end up only hurting each other more. The events climax to a point where a decision must be made – either continue their lives together or start separate lives apart.

As in his other films, Aleksandr Sokurov reduces the action of Father and Son to the essential. In several concentrated scenes, he tells the story of a hermetic life that protects its inhabitants as much as it imprisons them.


Aleksandr Sokurov was born in Russia in 1951. He studied History and trained until 1979 as a director at the Moscow Film School VGIK. His graduation film The Lonely Voice of Man (1987) was neither officially accepted by the school, nor given the right to be shown – as was the case with all of his films until the democratic reforms in the mid to late 80s -, but did win a Bronze Leopard at Locarno. In 2000, he founded the studio Bereg for non-commercial feature and documentary films. Sokurov has made numerous prize-winning feature films and documentaries, including: Painful Indifference (1987), Days of Eclipse (1988), Elegy from Russia (documentary, 1992), Mother and Son (1997), Moloch (1998), Taurus (2001) Russian Ark (2002), and Father and Son (2003), among others.
Genre Drama
Category Feature
Year of Production 2003
Director Aleksandr Sokurov
Screenplay Sergey Potepalov
Cinematography Aleksandr Burov
Vlad Ivanov
Andrey Sigle
Natalya Kochergina
Cast Andrey Shchetinin, Aleksey Neymyshev
Producer Thomas Kufus
Production Company zero one film/Berlin, in co-production with Lumen Films/Paris, Nikola Film/St. Petersburg, Mikado Film/Milan, Isabella Films/Amsterdam
Length 83 min
Format 35 mm, color
Original Version
 Russian
Subtitled Versions Dutch, English, French, German, Italian
Sound Technology Dolby Digital
Festivals Cannes 2003 (in competition), Pusan 2003, London 2003, Rotterdam 2004, Hong Kong 2004, Buenos Aires 2004
Awards FIPRESCI Award Cannes 2003
With backing from Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, CNC, Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, Dutch Filmfund, Fondazione MonteCinemaVerita
German Distributor Piffl Medien/Berlin

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