Genre: Drama; Starring: Vasily Shevtsov, Galina Vishnevskaya; Director: Alexander Sokurov; Author: Alexander Sokurov; Runtime (in minutes): 94; MPAA Rating: Unrated; Distributor: The Cinema Guild

Octogenarian soprano Galina Vishnevskaya looks unmistakably stately but passes as a stolid Everygranny in Alexandra, a startling, elliptical war parable by the intense Russian director Alexander Sokurov (Russian Ark). Alexandra is a grandmother visiting her soldier grandson, Denis (Vasily Shevtsov), stationed at the Chechen front; she plods into Denis’ military base toting her trusty wheeled shopping cart like it’s market day. And in exploring the premises with a steel will and a maternal tenderness, she takes on the authority of timeless Mother Russia herself. A-

Originally posted April 17 2008 — 12:00 AM EDT

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