The visual feast that was Russian Ark, director Aleksandr Sokurov ‘s homage to the Hermitage in St Petersburg, is sadly missing in Francofonia.
Purportedly the history of the Louvre during the Nazi occupation of Paris, it’s something of a schizophrenic documentary, uncertain as it is of what exactly is its focus. The story of the French director, Jacques Jaujard who worked with Nazi Franz Wolff-Metternich to prevent the Louvre collection being sent to Germany is a story in itself (Sokurov choses an odd re-enactment of pregnant pauses and furtive glances). But mixed in there is a superficial positioning of the Louvre itself and its collection (cue Napoleon) along with a meditation to the meaning of art. Result is Francofonia misses on all fronts.