Made and released over a period of ten years, 1979-1989, censored in the Sovjet Union, later released to an international audience.Sonata for Hitler (Соната для Гитлера, 1989, USSR, Leningrad Documentary Film Studio) directed by Alexandr Sokurov (Александр Сокуров). Set to the music of Bach and Penderecki, Sonata for Hitler weaves together a bank of images from German and Soviet archive footage, drawing out a psychological dimension from the historical landscape at the end of World War II.
"As with so many early films by Sokurov, this film has two dates: the first is the date of its creation (the film was then banned), the second is the date of the final edition and legal public screening. The film consists of German and Soviet archive footage of the World War II — to be exact, from the end of the war. An attempt to make a largescale documentary on this subject had been undertaken in the Soviet cinema of the 1960s: the film — Ordinary Fascism — by the outstanding Soviet filmmaker Mikhail Romm had become a classic retrospective investigation of fascism. But Sokurov uses the expressive power of the documentary image in an absolutely different way. He does not amass materials for a largescale picture of Nazi crimes. As a lyrical filmmaker, in the space of this short film, he manages to present an entire overview of the historical landscape after the catastrophe. He chooses only the psychological aspect of this, showing the perpetrators of crimes as also the victims of their crimes: the execution of Hitler's generals, the miserable despair of a defeated Hitler, the shame of the crowd use only to regimentation, the shame of the nation. Here Sokurov makes an unspoken comparison with the history of his own country: it was victorious in the face of Hitler, but at the same time had bred its own dictator, Stalin. The footage is numbered; dates on both sides of the frame denote the years of Hitler's and Stalin's deaths (1945 and 1953 respectively)." Alexandra Tuchinskaya