Though Russian director Alexander Sokurov's feature Alexandra unfolds against the backdrop of military life, it constitutes a stark and deliberate chamber drama in lieu of a war picture. Alexandra Nikolaevna (Galina Vishnevskaya) is an elderly woman with a grandson, Denis (Vasily Shevtsov), conscripted into the army of the Chechen Republic. When she makes the arduous journey to visit him, the startling nature of military life as it unfolds before her eyes -- the absence of women, the blind acceptance of amenities that so many take for granted, the emotional inexpressiveness -- completely bewilders her and introduces her to a world infinitely more alien than any she has ever experienced.
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