The Lonely Voice of Man

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The Lonely Voice of Man
Directed by Alexander Sokurov
Written by Yuri Arabov
Andrei Platonov (book)
Starring Tatyana Goryacheva, Alexander Gradov, Vladimir Degtyarev, Lyudmila Yakovtleva, Nikolai Kochegarov, Sergey Shukaylo, Vladimir Gladyshev, Ivan Neganov, Evgeniya Volkova, Irina Zhuravleva, Viktoria Yurizditskaya
Music by Krzysztof Penderecki, Otmar Nussio, A. Burdova
Edited by A. Bespalova (1978)
L. Semenova (1987)
Distributed by Lenfilm
Release date
  • 1987 (1987)
Running time
87 minutes
Country Soviet Union
Language Russian

The Lonely Voice of Man (Russian: Одинокий голос человека), also known as The Lonely Human Voice, is the first full-feature film by Alexander Sokurov. It was originally filmed in 1978 and reconstructed in 1987 at the Lenfilm studios. The film is largely based on Andrei Platonov's River Potudan and Origin of the Master, although it is not a direct film adaptation in the traditional sense but rather a recreation of the spiritual nature of Platonov's prose.


Originally intended by Sokurov as his diploma defense at the VGIK, The Lonely Voice of Man was banned in the USSR until the glasnost. Upon release in 1987 it was immediately critically acclaimed and nominated for a number of awards. Most notably the film won the Bronzen Leopard at the Locarno International Film Festival.

All the actors in the film were amateurs, and a combination of this along with the sulky provincial landscapes created a sense of realism coupled with artistry that made the feature stand out. Here Sokurov already began to approach his main theme - the tragic separation between the body and the soul. In his diary, Sokurov noted that in Platonov, he saw the "story of a 'weak heart', for which happiness was 'hard work'." Love and ongoing life are eternal, but unachievable, dreams for the characters. [1]

The film is dedicated to Andrei Tarkovsky who supported Sokurov morally during his battle against the Soviet censors.