Father and son live together in an apartment. They have lived alone for years in their own detached world. Sometimes they seem like brothers,sometimes even like lovers. Partly shot in Lisbon (though set in Russia) ,this is an intense study of the relationship between a father in his late 30s and his son , a military cadet. The first scene,in which the father comforts his nearly naked son through a nightmare, is filmed with deliberate eroticism. The lighting and Sokurov’s slow camera movements create a unsettling atmosphere of sensuality. The son has a girlfriend. She is jealous of his close relationship with his father. Women don’t play big role in the lives of these men , who would rather work out,wrestle and discuss the importance of courage. Eventually another character turns up who is apparently searching for his own father , also a military man. Sokurov mythologises the father as a strong, immovable figure who must be dispatched in order for the son to flourish.
Physicality dominates the film , from the opening shots of the film to the boy’s hand-to-hand combat classes. Sokurov’s assertion was that for him, this is a poem about parental relationships along male lines , about the son’s need to break away on his own,and become a man. Although “Father and son” is never as deep or wrenching as “Mother and Son” ,it is still a good watch because of Sokurov’s unique visual style.