Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Russian Ark (Russkiy kovcheg) (2002)

Director: Aleksandr Sokurov. Cast: Sergey Dreyden, Mariya Kuznetsova, Leonid Mozgovoy. 99 min. Russia/Germany/Japan/Canada/Finland/Denmark. Fantasy/History.

The grand-master says of this film:

""Russian Ark" is one of my favorite films. It's a 95-minute movie all done in one shot. It was done in a museum in St. Petersberg. I don't know if you've all seen "Russian Ark," but you should all treat yourselves to it. It's one shot. He only did three takes; the first two stopped after 20 minutes because there were mistakes but the last take went right through to the end. The cameraman almost died using the steadicam; it was an extraordinary experience. I would not want to make a movie in one shot."

- Steven Spielberg

I have to admit, I dozed off during the first half hour. But then, it grew on me. As it went on and I became more cognizant that all 95 minutes was one unedited shot (as opposed to The Rope's 10-minute fragments), the more I was confounded, almost horrified, at the immensity of the feat. But this goes beyond a technical miracle. As the film tours St. Petersburg's Hermitage museum (and isn't a real-life museum tour, continuous and unedited?), it recreates the site's historical moments through flashbacks, with iconic figures passing by. You're not touring a museum - you're witnessing history.

PS: Tales have been told about this film's production. Read some of them here.

PPS: Available on Netflix

Mo says:

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