(Alexander Sokurov, 2002)
2,500 years of art history ~ 2,000 actors and extras ~ 300 years of Russian history ~ 33 rooms of the Hermitage Museum ~ 3 orchestras ~
~ 1 continuous shot!
“Russian Ark” has become a cinematic milestone for its beauty, its majesty, its scope, and above all, its artistic bravado. Sokurov’s ninety-six minute historical drama was made in a single continuous sequence—no fades, no blackouts, no cuts, no edits of any kind. Shot and set entirely within St. Petersburg’s Winter Palace, the film follows an unnamed narrator as he moves through the estate, meeting real and fictional characters from the city’s three-hundred year history. The backdrop to this dreamlike odyssey is the rooms and galleries of Russia’s State Hermitage Museum, one of the oldest and largest art museums in the world, making the film as much a tour of centuries of great art as a tour-de-force of world filmmaking. Part historical fiction, part sweeping lyric poem, “Russian Ark” is not to be missed.