1. Notice the framing strategy used by the director. The Son's dream at the beginning and the Father's dream that ends the movie. Rain in spring vs. winter snow. Life vs. death. The presence of Father figure in the son's dream and the closed window (the absence of the peeping Son) dreamed by the Father. Every son is destined to shed off his son-hood to become a father, whereas the father faces death alone. The missing mother is the regeneration principle, but it is missing. Mother died; she is incapable of giving further birth. So the relationship between father and son can only be lineal and one-directional. That means, the predicaments of time, decay and loss are irredeemable. Herein we touch the very root of human suffering. This movie is all about pain and our struggle against it. Irony is: our resistance itself is painful as well, although poetic at the same time. The lyrical is the only possibility of impossible redemption. Hence the very value of this movie. It has to be beautiful, painstakingly beautiful.
2. What is the thematic thread of this movie? Allusion to God the Father and Jesus Christ. Crucifying love. In-between the Father and the Son. Sokurov is re-inventing THE myth. How ambitious! The movie is about our fall from grace, whereas the movie intends to reverse that fall by installing in and with everyday details the mythical, the arch-typical, the eternal, and the prelapsarian. The Father and the Son have to be perfect; their intimacy has to be embodied. So, our eyes that see sex or any inklings of sex are the postlapsarian eyes, the eyes of Adam and Eve out of Paradise. Remember the skull that has to be there in any portrait of Crucifiction? That is the skull of Adam, symbol of our mortal existence and the very mortality of that existence. It is to be annihilated by the passion and resurrection of Jesus. While mis-watching Sokurov's movie, we are that skull, we annihilate the work of Jesus, of the Father and the Son. Got it?
3. Of course this movie is anti-Freudian (no sex, not homoerotic, stop that misreading, no matter how productive!), anti-Bildung (the Son refuses to grow up and leave his Father; the former is a rebel against time), anti-socialization (even though the Father eventually forces the Son to part from him; the former's kneeing alone in snow is heartrending) and anti-whatever. It is about what has been lost, irretrievable, maybe forever. Ironic again: Loss is eternal; eternity is merely THE loss. The gist of the movie is "anti-". By reversing the worldly orders, it invokes the phantom of the Sacred. The Father is ultimately all alone, kneeing in snow, wrapped up in solitude. The Son is about to go, into the world. This is a myth of our world. Our world is the Son forsaken by his Father, out of love. The last cry of Jesus: Father, Father, why have thou forsaken me? The response of the Father as offered by Sorukov's movie is: I am all alone. They are in love; love crucifies them both and redeems us all.
p.s. Another episode worth our attention. When the Son takes the other son for sightseeing in the city, he points at the barking dog and comments that it barked when he was a child. Nothing changes in the city, for the Son, who views the city as timeless. What comes next? The other son sees a plane overhead, above those surrounding buildings that seemingly freeze the flow of time. There is another world outside. THE world, in time, in history, in human collectivities, encroaching upon the phantom realm of the sacred.
In addition to Sasha, there is still an unknown boy who spies on the Father and Son! He first appears when Father works out on the roof and the other son knocks. Also, when the Son plays with Sasha between their windows. When the Son drags the other son out onto the stepping platform, the sound of plane can be heard.
p.p.s. I hate my Christian vocabulary and category of mind. But anyway in this case it fits. Should write something for a serious journal.