Review: Francofonia (Alexander Sokurov, 2015)

A spiritual sequel of sorts to his 2002 film, Russian Ark, Francofonia sees Alexander Sokurov tour another testament to Europe’s cultural and historical achievements of the last few centuries. Instead of the Russian State Hermitage Museum, this time it’s the Louvre.

Sokurov narrates the non-fiction feature, but this is by no means a documentary, despite what its presence on the nominee longlist for 2017’s Oscars might have you believe. It’s foremost an essay film, albeit one where there are dramatised scenes with actors playing the central parts of figures like Napoleon Bonaparte and bureaucrat Jacques Jaujard, the latter of whom went against the Vichy government of 1940 to prevent the Nazi occupiers from extracting the Louvre’s contents…

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