The Strugatsky Brothers’ Billion Years Before the End of the World gets a visionary treatment in Sokurov’s moody chronicle of a disillusioned doctor posted to a remote Central Asian village. As the doctor attempts to conduct his research project, a mysterious persecution begins, and a boy appears on his doorstep. Sokurov’s enigmatic story fashions its science-fiction source—the Strugatskys also wrote the source novel behind Tarkovsky’s Stalker—into an existential study while interspersing ethnographic footage from the area. Alexei Ananishnov, the picture of strapping handsome youth, plays the doctor. Featuring an extraordinary, multilayered score using traditional elements and an original score by Yuri Khanon.

“In Leningrad, there is a young director, a cinematic genius. His name is Aleksandr Sokurov.” —Andrei Tarkovsky