Sokurov begins his film with a collage of nude limbs grabbing, wrestling, contorting, and comforting one another that eventually reveals itself to be the father cradling the son after a nightmare. "You saved me," says the young teen, who - even without the physical resemblance of their unclothed torsos - looks strikingly like his handsome, stout dad. Yet as we soon discover, the son's nightmares have been populated with scenes of him murdering his father. The story's central conflict lies in these disturbing visions, which make up both the beginning and end of the film and, with lyrical obliqueness, portray the father-son union as primary and yet beset by an inevitable, inescapable need for both parties to eventually craft distinct, individual lives.
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