Produced by Aleksandr Sokurov, A Russian Youth connects images with music. Inspired by rare color photographs from the trenches of World War I (as well as Kinemacolor, an early technique used to color film), the story of a teenage soldier is accompanied by contemporary sequences from a concert hall, where an orchestra is rehearsing two pieces by Rachmaninoff: Piano Concert No. 3, Op. 30 (1909); and Symphonic Dances, Op. 45 (1940). What connects the old to the modern is the thread of listening intently to history, just as Rachmaninov did, as an émigré artist caught up in revolution and two wars. But the dramatic sounds of the war symphony are also listened to by the eponymous “youth” (Vladimir Korolev), a 15-year-old who had only just enlisted when he lost his sight following a German mustard-gas attack. The army employs the blind peasant boy to listen to gigantic tubes that enable him to catch sounds heralding upcoming raids. The innocent, good-natured boy wanders among soldiers in combat and among the wounded: clumsy, forced to rely on only hearing and touch, he is like a leaden soldier molded by the trifling hands of History.
Alexander Zolotukhin was born shortly before the fall of the Soviet Union, in modern Ukraine. He completed a degree in computer science before studying at Kabardino-Balkarian State University in Nalchik, where Aleksandr Sokurov is head of the film school. His debut film, A Russian Youth, was produced under the watchful artistic eye of one of the masters of Russian cinema. Zolotukhin’s short films have been screened at numerous festivals, including in Locarno.
2011 Nowij Prometei / New Prometheus (short)
2014 Ornament (short)
2015 Babylon forests (short)
2019 Rosyjski młokos / Malczik russkij / A Russian Youth