Pavel KOGAN
Павел КОГАН
Pavel KOGAN
USSR, 1966  
documentary
Look at the Face
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Directed by : Pavel KOGAN (Павел КОГАН)
Writing credits : S. SOLOVYEV (С. СОЛОВЬЕВ)
Cinematography : Pyotr MOSTOBOY (Пётр МОСТОВОЙ)
 

Plot synopsis
It was supposed to reveal the calm with which visitors to the Hermitage, the famous museum in St. Petersburg (still known as Leningrad when this film was made), contemplate great works of art. Filmed with a hidden camera, this documentary couldn't be further from that original goal. What we have here is an intense study of observation, contemplation and spiritual rapture, for the glances that the primarily Russian museumgoers cast upon Leonardo Da Vinci's famous painting Madonna and Child are seldom indifferent. On the contrary, these people observe with total concentration, consumed by curiosity, interest, wonder and emotion. They seem well aware of the greatness of Da Vinci's work, the perfect balance between rational and emotional. Look at Her Face is an especially ingenious game - the audience of the film observes another audience, reflecting upon their reflections and feeling their emotions. In voice-over, the guides place the painting in the tradition of the Renaissance, though they all clearly have their own interpretation of the work. The faces of the museumgoers reveal that it is not altogether different for them. In this manner, everyone develops his or her own vision of Da Vinci's Madonna and Child. And the Soviet director Pavel Kogan does not film his subjects as a united multitude, which was the documentary norm in Soviet times, but as the independently thinking individuals they really are.
 

Commentaries and bibliography
Советские «независимые»: миф или реальность?, Naum KLEIMAN, seance.ru, 2013
 

Selected in the following festivals :
- Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival : IDFA, Amsterdam (Netherlands), 2012
- Message to Man : International Short, Documentary and Animated Film Festival, St Petersburg (Russia), 2011