T

he pages that whisper through this brooding, beautiful tone poem are from nineteenth-century Russian literature, primarily Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. An anonymous man wanders through decomposing, fog-enshrouded catacombs and encounters a series of “the degraded and the humiliated,” including a holy prostitute and a Kafkaesque bureaucrat. Shot partly in Sokurov’s dreamlike black and white with a dense sound track of eerie, echoing voices and bursts of mournful Mahler.

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