Confession. From the Commander's Diary was filmed in late autumn 1997, on board a naval patrol ship sailing on the Barents Sea in the Murmansk region (where the Kursk submarine would later sink in the year 2000). The film shows the sailors going about their routine activities, accompanied by the voice of the "Commander" and his reflections on a life lived in the continuous present, where it seems that "nothing ever happens".

As Fredric Jameson has written, "The commander in Confession most openly expresses this experience of time: 'it's the same today, and it will be the same my whole life' he reflects; and indeed the daily routine of the Arctic Fleet is the very paradigm of a repetitive temporality in which nothing happens… He also most explicitly makes the connection with metaphysics: the 'meaning of life' would be found in your ability to organize it day by day, like the ability to organize an army. But this is not a utilitarian matter or a question of management and efficiency; it has to do with the meaning of the social and collective institution itself. The commander compares himself unfavourably to the nineteenth-century Russian officers, who had a real vocation (that of empire) instead of the mere jobs he shares with his sailors… The ship, with its crew and its routines, its rule book, its pedagogy and its logistics, is not only some metaphysical allegory of life (, it is an autoreferential allegory of filmmaking itself and a representation of the dynamics and dilemmas of art today, of modernist art, one would think, rather than a postmodern Russian kind with which Sokurov seems to have little in common".

From 5 pm to 10 pm, MACBA extends its usual opening hours and invites visitors to attend a group screening of Confession. The idea is to share the experience of a kind of cinema that challenges our attention spans and our passivity as spectators. A snack will be served during the screening, and at the end of the session there will be an opportunity for the audience to engage in a debate and share their impressions.

Aleksandr Sokurov "Confession. From the Commander's Diary", 1998 (filmstill)


Saturday 21 April, 5 pm to 10 pm. Screening length: 208 min 38 s
MACBA Public Programs
Tel. (+34) 93 481 46 81
programespublics [at] macba [dot] cat